Exercise is rationed

Yes, you can go to the ACLO again

On Monday, the ACLO reopened. Under strict conditions, they’re restarting several classes. The UG and Hanze sports facility wants to slowly reopen completely over the next few weeks.
By René Hoogschagen / Photos by Yelena Kilina

This week, ACLO members can participate in six different sports on the Zernike campus: tennis and padel – a cross between tennis and racquet ball – as well as pilates, yoga, bodyfit, and bootcamp. ‘There are sports people do on their own, which allows for social distancing’, says ACLO chair Bram Natter. 

Students can also do track and field and rowing, but that’s up to the sports associations themselves, and neither sport takes place on the ACLO grounds. The track at Zernike is currently being used for group classes. 


Pharmaceutical student Daan Boellen and Robin Emaus immediately went to the tennis court on Monday afternoon. They’re not diehard tennis players – ‘This is actually my first time’, Daan confessed – but they’re happy the court is open again. ‘It’s great to do something other than cycling or running’, says Robin. ‘It’s nice to compete against each other.’ 

Natter thinks members will be able to go swimming and play football, hockey, and beach volleyball. The protocols for this have been submitted for approval to the UG and Hanze. 

Changing at home

There’s a long list of conditions that have to be met: people have to go to the bathroom and change their clothes at home, and they can’t come in too early or stay too long after class. Anyone who doesn’t have a reservation will be turned away. 

‘If we start out being strict, we might be able to loosen up over time’, says Natter. 

Health first

The two students on the tennis court say they have no issue with the rules. ‘As long as the weather is nice…’ says Daan. ‘The only difference is that we’re being supervised.’ 

There’s one more rule: people can only come by once a week. It’s ACLO’s way of offering its facilities to as many people as possible. They won’t be able to accommodate all members, since there are fifteen to twenty thousand of them, says Natter. This is just a start. ‘People’s health comes first’, he emphasises. ‘At least this is better than no exercise at all.’

Selim Sami and Wouter Sipma didn’t waste any time on Monday getting on the tennis court.

Selim is now in the final year of his PhD in theoretical chemistry. ‘I spend most of my time working on my dissertation. After being in lockdown for so long, it was nice to do some sports.’

ACLO issued a protocol for tennis and padel players, asking every player to label balls for recognition. ‘I read the rules and everything was clear, except marking the balls. I don’t know if we were supposed to mark it so we don’t mix them between each other or with other groups.’

Changing rooms and showers are still closed. People are expected to come in sportswear and shower at home afterwards. Since it is not possible to fill up bottles at the sports centre, everyone should bring water from home.

An instructor or supervisor is always present to ensure that athletes follow safety rules.

Selim and Wouter enjoy a short break between the games. After the tennis session, they need to leave the court immediately. ‘But the new regulations didn’t interrupt the tennis play’, says Selim.


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