Jolet Hartenhof wants to fly high in Dhaka

Mon, Nov 14, 2011 10:35 AM

The Netherlands side will travel to Dhaka this week and amongst its squad of 14 players is one who could actually be flying the team's plane should the opportunity arise.

Netherlands all-rounder Jolet Hartenhof recently had her childhood dream fulfilled, she finally completed her one and half-year long course to become a qualified pilot.

The course, which ran from February 2010 to October 2011, was held in Utrecht in Netherlands and at Oxford Aviation Academy in United Kingdom.

"I qualified for the course after a long three phase selection process. I thankfully got through. That was in October 2009. Since then I have completed flying 140 hours on single and twin engine planes. I have also flown 40 hours on a jet-plane, a 737," informed Hartenhof.

Hartenhof believes the decision to pursue her passion was the best one of her life. "It was amazing and a very good choice by me. I used to be a stewardess on KLM Airlines in Netherlands. But that was more by accident. As I turned 30, I realised that this was the best time to go for my old passion and that triggered me," said Hartenhof.

Hartenhof is hoping that her license will come through post the ICC Women's World Cup Qualifier in Dhaka from 14-26 November. Netherlands is in Group A alongside South Africa, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and USA at the tournament.

Once it comes through she is hoping that she will be able to fly her team to the ICC Women's World Cup in 2013 in India. But before that Hartenhof has to play a part with her bowling in the ICC Women's World Cup Qualifier for her side.

"I will be job hunting after the Bangladesh event. Then maybe I can fly the team to the World Cup in 2013," she joked.

The nearly two year course took a lot out of Hartenhof and made her balance her passion with cricket.

"I am very ambitious about my cricket career. But cricket could not always come first. It was a very demanding course. I had to skip training to be at school. I have managed to balance pilot training with whatever training I could do. I have been only able to practice with the team in the last two weeks after my course ended," said Hartenhof.

Hartenhof believes she leaves for Dhaka in the best frame of mind as she is at her fittest. "My training as a pilot required me to be physically fit. It has helped a lot in my cricket. A run or a session in the gym helped clear my mind and kept me fresh for training. The fact that I was inclined towards sport meant that it helped me both in my pilot training and my cricket," summed up Hartenhof.

Hartenhof's teammates are proud of her achievement, but she is wrestling with the idea of how she will manage cricket, her possible job as a pilot and life in general.

"It is a big step in my career. In the short term I am looking for a job anywhere in the world. As far as cricket goes, I have to see how I can combine it with a job, because it will depend on which airline I will be flying. If I get to play cricket in that country, then it will be great for me," said Hartenhof.

But for now, the immediate focus is on the Dhaka sojourn for the 32-year-old fast-medium bowler, she is hopeful that Netherlands will be able to spring a surprise in the tournament.

"I would like to believe that despite the fact that on paper certain teams are stronger than we are, we have trained really hard. We have made good progress. You never know, cricket is a strange game and strange things can happen. We may end up qualifying for the World Cup, who knows?" she concluded.

Netherlands squad: Helmien Rambaldo (capt), Caroline de Groot, Denise Hannema, Esther Lanser, Esther de Lange, Jolet Hartenhof, Kerryanne Tomlinson, Laura Brouwers, Leonie Bennett, Marijn Nijman, Maxime Entrop, Miranda Veringmeier, Hannah Hofman, Mariska Kornet.

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