Monique van der Vorst

 “What doesn’t kill me will make me stronger.”

Friedrich  Nietzsche

This is a very impressive story from a Monique van der Vorst. At the young age of 27, he has already won 2 Silver Medals from the Paralympic Games held in Beijing, 3 World Titles, 6 European Championships, 8 Road Race Titles and 2 National Time Trial Titles. For 5 years in a row Monique won the overall ranking at the EHC event. In fact, he won almost all the competitions he participated in, both nationally and internationally. In 2009 Van der Vorst won the Ironman World Championship and set a new record with a time of 11 hours, 10 minutes and 13 seconds. Monique is a true professional athlete who dedicates her life to sports, besides that she is also pursuing her studies at a university.

With all her achievements, Monique also plays an important role in inspiring many people, especially people with disabilities. Monique has proven with all her achievements that disability does not hinder a person’s abilities, as long as the person is trying and being optimistic in life. To show the public that exercise is important for everyone including those with physical disabilities, Monique demonstrates hand bikes in rehabilitation centers. With all her achievements and contributions in inspiring the surrounding community, Monique was awarded the medal of honor of the city in her birthplace by the mayor of Nieuwerkerk aan den Ijssel.

Monique van der Vorst was born in Gouda on November 20, 1984, she was involved in a car accident that resulted in a spinal cord injury in 2008. As a result of the accident her right knee could not function properly and her left leg was paralyzed, since then Monique has been in a wheelchair. During the rehabilitation period Monique was introduced to the sport of hand cycling and she loved it, since then she has been practicing hand cycling and taking training seriously. Monique took part in her first hand cycling race in the spring of 2000, surprisingly she was able to win the race as a debutant. He then saw the fixed frame handcycles and immediately fell in love, it was because of the speed offered by this type of bike.

Monique got the fixed frame handcycles she wanted in 2001, since then she has participated in many competitions and competitions. He managed to become the European champion in 2001 in the Road Race and Time Trial classes, after which he won the European Handcycling Competition – EHC for the first time. On May 2, bad luck befell Monique, she was in a car accident for the second time. He was rushed to hospital and underwent Whiplash, taking 6 months to recover before he was back on track. This made him late for the World Championships in Bordeaux, but he continued to participate in the Paralympic Games held in Beijing in 2008 despite still suffering from Whiplash. In that event he managed to finish 3rd in the Time Trial class, the position was enough for him to maintain his nomination. In 2009 at the National Sports Gala Monique was named the disabled athlete of the year.

In the year 2010 amazingly, he managed to win the Miami and Melbourne Marathon. Once again he was involved in an accident and had to be in the hospital for a long time, he had many spasms in his legs and suddenly felt a throbbing in his paralyzed left leg. This was very strange for him, because for 12 years he did not feel anything in his paralyzed left leg. Then surprisingly he could move his left leg a little bit, since then he tried everything to get his left leg back to normal. He spent months in rehabilitation centers and hospitals, finally after nearly 13 years in a wheelchair Monique van der Vorst can now walk again!

2011 was a year full of new things, undergoing a lot of rehabilitation to overcome all challenges. In such a situation, Monique took the time to cycle from Italy to the Netherlands, the 3,086 km journey with an altitude of 28,500 meters was completed in 20 days. Along the way he realized that sport was alive in his body and soul. At the end of 2011 she got something she could not have imagined before, she was offered a contract by the Professional Women’s Team under Rabobank. Monique van der Vorst is going back into the sport even though she has a lot to learn, but Monique is going to do it anyway!