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Exclusive interview Kim Polling: So curious what a fit body can achieve

The World‘s best female judoka is currently preparing for the World Championships in Chelyabinsk Next week. 100 Judo is curious how Kim Polling’s preparation is compared to last year when she was seriously injured. After all training camps she has felt the temperature of the tatami, herself and her opponents. Time to reflect the World’s #1 just in advance of the 2014 highlight of the year.


We assume the athletes read 100judo.com so feel exposed from now!

Kim: Sure I know 100judo.com. The good part is, it provides news, it’s current and the articles are interesting to read. Especially the newsy features attract me to go there such as features on athletes who are ‘hot’. 


Well Kim, we’ve heard you’re the most lucky person on earth, and you leave us in tears as you have a boy friend. Tell us all about it.

Kim: (unveiling a gorgeous smile) I know my friend since the beginning of 2011, we have met during carnaval, only at that time we didn’t know we liked eachother, so that postponed love. A good friend of mine (athlete Janine Penders), saw Niels this year during a part and linked us again with a date.


Last year you had a complete different preparation with your knee injury in advance of the World’s in Rio, now everything seems to go pretty smooth, or is the road still bumpy?

Kim: Since the summer of 2012 I’m continuously injured. Each time injuries that cause to walk with a brace or a sling. So I didn’t have a proper preparation for the Europeans in 2013 and 2014 and last year’s World Championships. I was continuously in preparation while injured or recovering. It’s the first preparation that I am not recovering for a title tournament. That’s pretty awkward as I’m used to recover all the time since two years.


(photo source: EJU Carlos Ferreira)

Obviously I have little things now, but that’s in line with my style of judo. I have had a very good preparation this time and I am very looking forward to next week.


You were last year’s phenomenon in judo, is this year different now? You’re clearly number one, less injuries but even more expectations. Tell us your feeling.

Kim: Well, I got injured AGAIN in December, and even this year I suffered a lot. I could finally do judo in March and got injured again in Nymburk, so even at the Europeans I was injured. But all in all I became champion rather easy. Due to that injury I didn’t feel any pressure. I didn’t attend at an event for 5 months, and four of those five I was injured. But it turned out successfully.


Now I’m by far the favourite for the World title and I would lie if that doesn’t bring any pressure. But given the fact I won those tournament rather easily this season with a body that was far from fit, I can be curious how things will develop next week. I’m really looking forward to fight.


The Dutch team announced to go with 10 athletes, we count in a few medals for Holland.

Kim: Now the Olympic qualification has started the Dutch Judo Federation announced to take only those athletes to the events that have a serious chance to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games. We have a strong team although we have only four women. We’re a bit unlucky with the injuries of Linda Bolder and Birgit Ente who got injured in the beginning of this year. Recently Marhinde Verkerk got injured during a training camp in Germany. The men are all fit and I estimate that multiple medals are realistic. Last we had five medals and four of them are in this year’s  team again.


 (photo source: EJU Carlos Ferreira)

But seriously, who do you expect to be the main rivals for the world title?

Kim: I think that I am the biggest enemy myself. Once again, I see how I can win battles with a none-fit body, so I am really curious how a fit body can take those opponents. A body that made some good randori’s in advance.


You show men’s judo, it’s tough, attractive, powerful, skilled, or do we forget the female qualities here? So in what way can women’s judo differ positively from men’s judo?

Kim: I think there are more women showing this kind of judo. Sometimes also men aren’t showing fantastic judo. I think that men don’t think too much in advance what they are going to do, or think about the results of their actions. Maybe that clarifies why you see more spectacular throws in men’s judo, compared to the women.

In that respect I’m more a man, because I don’t think too much before making a throw, it’s more intuitive. I recently saw a picture at Facebook, that fits my explanation.

Men are simply more daredevils.


If you were a man, who would you be in judo?

Kim: Haha. Then I would like to be Teddy Riner. Becoming champion at each event where I participate, but I’ve got a long road to go to get at that level.


In a recent magazine Kim is interviewed with Edith Bosch, showing she's very female.


(photo source: Helden Magazine, NL)

Are you in some way inspired by the Dutch success in football, or don’t you care? There’s always an interesting tension between real athletes and football players.

Kim: No, in no way football is comparable to judo and in general I don’t get inspired by athletes.


Are you enjoying holiday yet, as you are also teacher at school or kindergarten? Is it possible to combine the two careers?

Kim: Last six months were really tough. I chose to postpone my study apprenticeship at a secondary school where you have to deal with children with limited abilities or conduct problems. I’ve learned a lot last year but until the Olympic Games I won’t teach anymore. It’s too heavy in combination with my life as judoka.


Can you make money at all in judo, now .. or in the future, what’s your expectation about top athletes in judo, do things improve?

Kim: The big difference with The Netherlands  and some other countries is that Dutch top athletes are not seen as a “hero”. You can tell people that you’re top athlete and the next question is, “oh nice, and what do you do for a living?”

I’m very happy to be sponsored by AA-drink, Vattenfall, adidas en Nihon Sport, but one of the few judoka who gets sponsored. If you want to be rich, don’t practise judo in Holland, and that’s not only applicable for judo, but for many sports.

On the other side you can see athletes who are doing the utmost for their sport and that is an essential asset to succeed as top athlete.



Do you have any surprise tactics for the World Championships, a different haircolour, braids, rasta hair, no braces I guess, or secret tactics that we are not allowed to hear?

Kim: I have ADHD; attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. So structure is very important for people like me, so I will do most of the same things I usually do.


We suppose you unveil the real secrets in time on your website www.kimpolling.nl

Kim: The good part of an own website and social media is that you can tell your fans and friends what you’re doing. Certainly in the preparation to a tournament this is very useful. Everyone knows in time how I’m doing, what I’m doing and that saves me time.


We look forward to see your specialties again in Chelyabinsk.

Kim: I’m the most curious of all!


If you want to see Kim Polling in action, tune in at www.ippon.tv on Friday 29 August. Obviously you knew that and will follow judo the whole weeks starting on Monday.

Don’t forget to watch closely at 100judo.com, one of Kim’s favourite websites.



12/07/2014 1 Grand Slam Tyumen GSL U70
09/05/2014 1 Grand Slam Baku GSL U70
25/04/2014 1 European Championships Montpellier ECh U70
30/11/2013 2 IJF Grand Slam Tokyo GSL U70
23/11/2013 1 IJF Grand Prix Abu Dhabi GP U70
30/08/2013 3 World Championships Rio de Janeiro WCh U70
26/05/2013 1 IJF World Masters Tyumen IJFMA U70
26/04/2013 1 European Championships Budapest ECh U70
24/02/2013 1 IJF Grand Prix Düsseldorf GP U70
10/02/2013 1 IJF Grand Slam Tournoi de Paris GSL U70
03/02/2013 1 European Open Sofia WCup U70





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