Highlight: Bryan Lusse
The TU Delft campus is brimming with talent in many areas, including sport. Every month, we spotlight one of our top sportsmen or sportswomen. This month, karateka Bryan Lusse has the honour.
In February (Friday 8 - Sunday 10 February), the European U21 Championships will be held in Aalborg, Denmark. You will be taking part in the weight class under 75 kilogrammes. What did you do to prepare yourself for the tournament?
‘Besides all the hours of training at my own karate club, Unity’99 in Rotterdam, I also trained under Daniël Sabanovic in the past period. He is a former world champion and national coach of the Dutch U21 squad. To prepare for the European Championships, we’ve been training in Leusden with the others who will take part in the tournament. Since the past few weeks, I’ve been reducing my weight. I normally weigh about 79 kilogrammes, so I need to shed a few kilos.’
You’ve been Dutch junior champion twice now, but you have never won a European metal of honour. What do you think your chances are of winning this tournament?
‘I think there’s a good chance. This is my last year in under 21, which gives me quite a lot of experience at this level. I know most of the competitors in my class and their strengths. Last year, I made it to the quarter finals at the European U21 Championships in Sochi, Russia. I had the feeling that there was still more in me. This year, I certainly want to top that achievement and end up with a podium place. Something that has eluded me so far.’
Just like all sportsmen, you dream of taking part in the Olympics. When could that dream come true?
‘Karate will be an Olympic sport for the first time in Tokyo 2020, as an extra sport. That means there is a limit on the number of participants. And there are only three instead of five weight categories, each with only ten participants. To be sure that you qualify, you have to be one of the top four in the world at the beginning of 2020. There is also an Olympic Qualification Tournament at the beginning of 2020, with three tickets available per category. Each country is allowed to send one participant per category. As you can imagine, it’s no easy feat. And after 2020, the question is whether karate will remain an Olympic sport.’
What other long-term and short-term goals do you have?
‘In the long term, I want to switch to a heavier weight category, because of my battle with my weight. That means starting in that heavier category with nil points in the world ranking. As far as the short term goes, I’ll take a short break after the junior European Championships. Combining sport and my studies has been a tough job for me recently. I can tell that I need a break. That does mean missing the European Championships for over 21 in March.’
Speaking of your studies: how do you combine top-class sport with your Nanobiology degree programme at TU Delft?
‘It’s sometimes a difficult combination, but it gives a great sense of satisfaction when it works. Planning is the key to a successful combination. Careful planning is essential, especially if I have a busy training schedule around the examination periods. Sometimes you have the bad luck of a tournament falling right during an examination week. How am I doing? I want to finish my Bachelor’s degree programme this academic year. I still need to pass a second-year course and then complete my final Bachelor’s project.