The short track world is in mourning after the death of Lara van Ruijven. The world champion in the 500 meters died on Friday at the age of 27 in a hospital in Perpignan, France, from the consequences of an autoimmune disease.
Some members of the Dutch team were able to say goodbye to Van Ruijven on Friday, with whom they were at training camp in Font Romeu. Van Ruijven was hospitalized on June 25 and has been in intensive care since June 29.
"Rest in peace dear Lara. You once said to me in the heat box before the start of my first final on the relay at the European Championship that it would be okay ... I said this to you two weeks ago. But it is not well done ... I'm going to miss you so dear Laar. I love you ", Suzanne Schulting writes on Twitter.
"Rest in peace sweet tough beautiful Lara. I, we, can not do without you and yet we have to let you go. Your panther heart will be in our hearts forever. You will be champion forever," said Daan Breeuwsma on Twitter.
"Dear Lara, I will miss you unbelievably. For ten years we traveled all over the world together, we shared successes, but also disappointments. You were always the cheerful and positive person in our team. I will never forget you. Rest in peace Lara , you are forever in our hearts ", tweets Sjinkie Knegt.
Jorien ter Mors, who was a teammate of Van Ruijven for many years, but who has focused entirely on long track speed skating since 2018, also reacts in disbelief on Twitter. "Rest in peace dear Lara. The go-getter, with your unforgettable smile and your sweet caring character. I will miss you very much ... Forever in my heart."
Your smile, your chatter, your interest, your positive attitude, your will, your naivety, your amazement but above all your presence ... I already miss you so dearly Laar. FOREVER IN MY HEART ❤️ Rest in peace #panterlaraAvatar
"It is a huge blow for this close team"
Last year, Van Ruijven made history by becoming the first Dutch woman to win an individual world title in the short track. The South Holland was the best in the 500 meters in Sofia. She also became world champion, three times European champion with the Dutch team on the relay and once took Olympic bronze.
"What a terrible message we have received," said national coach Jeroen Otter. "The loss will be felt in the sports world. It is a huge blow to this close-knit team. We have missed her in our team for two weeks. But today's news is so final and surreal. Terrible."
"We have so empathized with Lara, her family and the short track team. That she is suddenly snatched from us in the prime of her life is beyond comprehension. On behalf of the KNSB I wish Lara's friend, family and loved ones a lot of strength in processing this immense loss, "reports director-director Herman de Haan of the skating association.
Technical director Maurits Hendriks of NOC * NSF is also upset. "It is hard to comprehend what happened to Lara and her loved ones these days. I got to know her as a successful and fully alive young top athlete and a welcome colleague within the large group of athletes and coaches of TeamNL."
On behalf of the international skating union ISU, the Dutch chairman Jan Dijkema expresses his condolences. "The ISU is very saddened by the news of the death of Lara. She had a bright future in the short track and the entire skating world is in shock and mourning."
See also: Van Ruijven did not like spotlights, but did write history