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Dutch international Inger Smits: How handball is in our family’s blood

Inger Smits: No pressure from my parents

Having fun was the priority for the Smits siblings, who grew a bit of a rivalry when playing sports in their childhood home.

“Growing up, we were always competing and fighting with each other,” the Dutchwoman said. “We were all the time playing with balls; footballs, handball and trying tricks.”

“We had this little street football goal in our garden. And if the weather was bad, we took it inside. We were playing a lot at home,” the 29-year-old said and added that playing with balls indoor not always pleased their parents.

Despite trying other sports, the trio ultimately followed in the footsteps of their mum and dad.

Inger used to practise athletics and handball at the same, achieving good results in both. But when she turned 12, she was forced to make a choice: “I could not train seven times a week at that age. And then I chose handball,” the centre back explained.

But it was not because of pressure from her parents, Smits emphasised.

“A lot of people think, our parents pushed us to play handball, which I can also understand a bit, but they did not at all. We tried a lot of sports. In the end we all chose handball. But we were totally free to choose whatever we wanted.

“I think we all preferred a team sport, and that was the main reason, why we chose handball. And I also think that I was a little bit more talented in handball.”