In 2016, archer Gabriela Schloesser-Bayardo participated in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on behalf of Mexico, but thanks to the love, she is part of the Dutch squad in Tokyo.

27-year-old Schloesser-Bayardo will be in action for the first time on Friday, while her husband Mike Schloesser, who is one of the best archers in the world with the compound bow, has to watch in the Netherlands.

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She has often had to explain why she is not allowed to go to Tokyo with her husband.

"And that can be quite uncomfortable," says Schloesser-Bayardo.

"For example, with people who live in our street in Limburg. They see on social media that Mike wins a lot. It is incomprehensible to them that he does not go to the Games and I do."

The reason?

“The part of archery that Mike practices is simply not Olympic,” explains Schloesser-Bayardo.

"He shoots the compound bow and I shoot the recurve bow."

Due to the corona pandemic, 27-year-old Schloesser cannot see from the stands how his wife ensures a Dutch first in this century.

It will not be her first Games, but due to her naturalization she is the first Dutch woman in archery since the Games of 1996. She comes into action as number 28 in the world rankings individually and forms a duo with Sjef van den Berg in the competition. for mixed teams.

"I don't want to say for both parts that I will win a medal anyway, but I am sure that I will form a good duo with Sjef. We feel each other well."

Gabriela Schloesser-Bayardo forms a duo with Sjef van den Berg for the mixed part.

Gabriela Schloesser-Bayardo forms a duo with Sjef van den Berg for the mixed part.

Photo: Getty Images

At the 2016 Games, Schloesser-Bayardo did not progress beyond the second round individually, after which she finished fifth in the team component with the Mexican team.

"The experience in itself was fantastic. It was all super big and as an athlete I had the feeling that I was a superstar. At least, that's how you were almost treated by the many volunteers."

Did you consciously choose the recurve arc to be able to - unlike your husband - go to the Games?

"No, absolutely not. It was more or less imposed on me by the Mexican coaches. That is a difference with the Netherlands, because here you have more choice and there they determine it for you."

How can a young girl go archery in Mexico?

"When I was eleven years old, a number of trainers came to see us at school. In addition to the archery trainer, the taekwondo trainer and the baseball trainer also came."

"I was quite tall compared to my peers in Mexico and they also thought I had a talent for archery, so they invited me and when I told my mother about it at home, she really had no idea what archery was like. But I really wanted to try it and was allowed to report to the training center."

Gabriela Schloesser-Bayardo and Mike Schloesser.

Gabriela Schloesser-Bayardo and Mike Schloesser.

Photo: Instagram/Gaby.Schloesser

At that training center was the foundation laid for your first Games in 2016?

"Yes, largely yes. In the run-up to the 2016 Games, among other things, I trained almost daily with the Mexican team for about four years.

Did you know Mike during the Rio Games?

"Certainly. He was in Mexico for a game at the beginning of 2016 and I was there too. After the game we were eating and drinking with a large group, but almost everything was in Spanish. Mike was a bit isolated because of that and then he decided I addressed him - without knowing who he was."

"A month later we met again at a game in China and there we officially started the relationship. At that time I was mainly busy preparing for the Games, so I had no idea who he was exactly. In the end he turned out to be to be a big name in archery."

Why did you come to live in the Netherlands?

Mike could also have gone to Mexico…

"He literally said: I don't think Mexico is that beautiful. And then I said: I do like the Netherlands. No nonsense, it was much more difficult for him to go to Mexico. He has a much closer relationship with his family. My parents are divorced and I was used to not seeing them for a long time, but I have to admit that living so far away it can be difficult at times."

Gabriela Schloesser-Bayardo on behalf of Mexico in action at the 2016 Games.

Gabriela Schloesser-Bayardo on behalf of Mexico in action at the 2016 Games.

Photo: AFP

Did you know when you emigrated to the Netherlands

that you would represent the Netherlands in Tokyo?

"The Games always felt very far away at the time. It also seemed almost impossible to me, because I first had to pass a number of integration exams and was also not allowed to participate in official competitions for a year, until I switched from the Mexican to the Dutch team made."

How did you endure doing nothing all year?

"Difficult, but luckily I got through it. I was often quite alone in Limburg, where it is very quiet compared to Mexico City. In the meantime Mike went to his matches and so I had to fill my time myself I was very well taken care of by my in-laws and I was also busy learning the Dutch language."

"Yet it was a period in which I thought: did I really make the right choice? I regularly went to Amsterdam, because it was more like Mexico there. But now I feel completely at home here, I no longer love Amsterdam. and I am a real Limburger."

Gabriela Schloesser-Bayardo with her Dutch passport.

Gabriela Schloesser-Bayardo with her Dutch passport.

Photo: ANP

Is the preparation in Limburg different than in busy Mexico City?

"Very different. In Mexico, for example, there was sometimes a trainer next to your bed: today you have to shoot six hundred arrows and then go to the gym. Here you decide more for yourself. We have the space in our backyard to train and that is very nice. If I don't feel like training here in the morning, I can do it in the afternoon or evening."

Will that lead to better performance in Tokyo than in Rio?

"I have the feeling that it is. Thanks to the coaches in the Netherlands I really got to know myself and I like that feeling of freedom and responsibility. I think it will make me better, but that has to be shown now."

See also: View the full program at the Olympics