As part of our ongoing series, we have interviewed members of the European Athletics Young Leaders Youth Team. They were all nominated by their federations to take part in the most recent Young Leaders Forum in Amsterdam, held in conjunction with the 2016 European Athletics Championships, and all are recognised as potential leaders of our sport in years to come.
The European Athletics Young Leaders Community is a platform for active young and ambitious people who are interested in developing work and life skills, getting involved in community service and making new friends.
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
My name is Jens Tybout, I'm 23 years old and live in the Netherlands. I started with Athletics when I was 11 years old. In my first years, I was active as a decathlete; nowadays I am a middle and long distance runner: 800m, 1500m and 5000m. I train mostly four times a week in my hometown.
Besides my love of sports, I’m busy with my masters degree in business administration. My plans in the coming ten years? Actually, I don’t like a planned life; I love adventures and new challenges so time will tell but I’m sure I will be active in sports as an athlete, coach and volunteer.
How did you become involved with the European Athletics Young Leaders Community?
I got involved with the European Athletics Young Leaders Community in 2016. My federation invited me for the Young Leaders Forum during the European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam. During that week, I met a lot of new people and friends from across Europe and all of them had the same passion for sports and athletics. I can still feel the energy from all the sessions and activities we did.
After this amazing week, I applied to became a member of the European Athletics Young Leader Community. I like the idea of sharing ideas, projects and experiences about different topics with other members across Europe, so we can learn and help each other.
What is your favourite thing about athletics?
The thing I like the most about athletics is the diversity of disciplines everyone can participate in. Furthermore, you can set up your own goals so young and old can participate and compete together.
Who is your athletics hero and why?
The finest thing is that everyone can be a hero in athletics due to personal developments and results but if I have to name someone, Dafne Schippers is a hero in athletics; not because we are both Dutch but the fact that she can handle the pressure which is put upon her by the press and others.
Which areas of the sport are you particularly interested in?
If it is sport-related I like several aspects, especially the social media part. Nowadays the online possibilities are unlimited and I am interested to see how many people follow their favourite sport online. The challenge for the sport itself is how to present our sport online in order to be attractive to the outside.
If you could change one aspect of the sport, what would you change and why?
Doing sport helps me to take my mind off things and gives me fresh energy to reach my goals, but sports also creates new things like friendships; sport has the power to unite people from all over the world.
With sport we can reach a lot of things but still not everybody has the ability to do sports because of their personal situation, inequality, costs or an unsafe environment. However, you can do sports or athletics everywhere so I hope as member of the Youth Team, we can make a start with these challenges and share ideas and set up projects to give more people the ability to access sport.
Where do you see yourself within the sport in ten years’ time?
Doing sport helps me to take my mind off things and gives me fresh energy to reach my goals, so I will continue my sporting career as an athlete, coach and volunteer.
What has been your highlight of Young Leaders so far?
I would say the Young Leaders Forum in Amsterdam has been the pinnacle of my Young Leaders career. It was an amazing week with a lot of inspiring meetings, workshops and interviews.
I mentioned it before that sport can unite the world, and the Young Leaders Form is a great example of that. We hadn’t seen each other before but in a few hours I met many people from many nationalities across Europe and made friends with people from across Europe.
I get inspired by all these shared stories, projects and experiences. We didn’t sleep much but I still feel the energy and spirit of that week. It was exciting, it was crazy, and it was worth it!