Hogeschool van Amsterdam

Urban Vitality

Student Soraya Wahjudi Nominated for VIVA400

30 Oct 2019 14:10 | Urban Vitality

Soraya Wahjudi, physiotherapy student at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) and gold medallist at the World Taekwondo Beach Championships, has been nominated for the VIVA400. Soraya juggles many different activities, earning good marks for her studies, training at her parents’ karate school in the evenings, and also teaching taekwondo to young children.

Soraya Wahjudi (21) won the European Beach Taekwondo Championships in Turkey earlier this year, and she previously won the world title. Winning the European Championships came as a surprise to her, as she only started practising taekwondo a few years ago.

This week, as a rising star and top-level student athlete, Soraya was nominated in the ‘Powerhouse’ (Krachtpatsers) category of the VIVA400, the annual ranking of inspiring women who excel in their field. The public can vote for her until 2 December (click on the link at the end of the artice to cast your vote).

Crazy hours

Top-level sports coordinator Sarah Scherer supervises Soraya in the AUAS Faculty of Health. She is amazed at how Soraya manages to combine everything: “What really impresses me is that she has to spend a crazy amount of hours on her top-level sport, but still passes all of her courses with good marks. It’s quite exceptional when you see what she is able to accomplish, and then she also teaches taekwondo to young children in her spare time.”

On her own

What makes Soraya’s achievements even more special is the fact that she achieves everything on her own. Her foreign competitors all receive scholarships, grants and sponsorships, enabling them to train a lot more.

Soraya does it all herself: from training schedules to scheduling her full-time studies. In the evenings, after her lectures and homework, she trains at her family’s karate school, where her brothers and parents train as well.

Top eight in the world

Another highlight for Soraya this year was the Grand Prix in Rome, in which she participated this summer as one of the top eight female taekwondo competitors in the world. She took fourth place in Rome. “I was disappointed at first, but then I realised that this was another great experience and achievement in itself,” says Soraya.

Vote for the VIVA400

This modest attitude is typical of Soraya, says top-level sports coordinator Sarah Scherer. “She has great integrity and is a very nice student for lecturers to work with. She is approachable, eager to learn and, above all, a good communicator. I would love to see her in the spotlight when the VIVA400 winners are announced.”

Soraya is an elite athlete, participating in the Amsterdam Unviersity of Applied Sciences’ Topsport Academy Amsterdam (TAA) programme.

This offers professional athletes the opportunity to successfully combine their sports career with a degree programme of their choice. The TAA is the crucial link between elite sport and education, enabling some 230 students like Soraya to be successful in both their studies at the AUAS and their athletic endeavours. Each degree programme at the Faculty of Health has elite athletes among its student population, all of which are supported by their Topsport Coordinator.