Triathlon-Loving Dutch Ambassador Cites Osaka Castle Race as Highlight

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Dutch Ambassador to Japan Peter van der Vliet

Dutch Ambassador to Japan Peter van der Vliet is a massive fan of triathlon. Six days a week, he swims 1,500 meters before work, and is a multiple bicycle-owning pedaling aficionado from one of the world’s most famous two-wheeled powerhouses.

Van der Vliet, 60, who has served as ambassador to Japan since 2019, was unable to compete a large number of triathlons for a few years due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, he participated in four Japan-based competitions last year.

The ambassador singled out the Osaka Castle Triathlon as the most memorable race among these four events because participants were allowed to swim in the outer moat — a very rare experience. “It was very special, and the castle was very beautiful,” van der Vliet said.

Marathon-running became a hobby for the ambassador after he took part in the New York City Marathon at the age of 23. Since then, he has racked up numerous running races. His fascination with triathlon began seven years ago after he injured his back and a doctor suggested that he swim as a form of therapy.

Van der Vliet takes his triathlon training very seriously and says he puts high value on interacting with fellow competitors and the people he trains with.

“I love the sport,” he said. “After the triathlon is over, I feel a sense of accomplishment.”