Dutch volleyball player convicted of rape set to compete in Paris 2024 Olympics

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A beach volleyball player who was jailed for raping a 12-year-old British girl is set to represent the Netherlands at the Paris Olympics.
Steven van de Velde, now 29, was sentenced to four years in prison in 2016 after admitting three counts of rape against a child, which took place in August 2014.
Van de Velde, who met his victim on Facebook, travelled from Amsterdam to the UK and raped the girl at an address in Milton Keynes.

He was allowed to serve his sentence in the Netherlands but was released after just 12 months.
Van de Velde subsequently resumed his volleyball career and has competed in international tournaments since 2018 “following an intensive, professionally supervised trajectory” the Dutch Olympic Committee (NOC) said.
He has qualified for the Olympics in his national pair with partner Matthew Immers.
The Dutch Olympic Committee (NOC) told BBC Sport: “After his release, Van de Velde sought and received professional counselling. He demonstrated to those around him – privately and professionally – self-insight and reflection.”
The NOC says Van de Velde’s return to the sport met guidelines set by the Dutch Volleyball Federation (NeVoBo) in the organisation’s “Guidelines Integrity Record”, which sets out conditions for athletes to resume competing after conviction.
It says he has met “all qualification criteria for the Olympic Games”.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said the nomination of individual team members is “the sole responsibility of each respective National Olympic Committee”.
In interviews with Dutch media previously Van de Velde said: “I can’t reverse it, so will have to bear the consequences. It has been the biggest mistake of my life.”
In a statement provided by the NOC, Van de Velde said: “In 2016 and afterwards, several Dutch media also paid attention to the story. I understand that in the run-up to the biggest sporting event in the world, this can attract the attention of international media.”
The Dutch Volleyball Federation and the International Volleyball Federation have been contacted for comment.

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