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LGBT+ History Month: Celebrating Lizette Beunders and Bianca Venema’s 2013 historic World Carp Classic victory
As we mark LGBT+ history month, we’re celebrating the angling achievements of Dutch angling couple Lizette Beunders and Bianca Venema, who stormed into the angling history books in 2013. As complete newcomers to the World Carp Classic, the powerhouse pair not only made LGBT+ history but smashed their win with one of the biggest margins in the history of the competition.
We spoke to Lizette earlier this month to reflect on the achievement. Looking back, it’s clear to see that the win was a moment to remember. She tells us more on what the day meant to the pair and what LGBT+ representation means in sport:
“It was a great experience to participate in the World Carp Classic. And to win this one was a dream come true. The interest and questions that came to us from that moment on was overwhelming.”
“In 2015 we became Runner Up during the World Carp Classic at Lac de Madine, which was again a wonderful experience. Also because with that the angling world saw that it was not a fluke.”
“In addition to participating in a commercial event such as the World Carp Classic, we are also part of the Dutch women’s team Carp Fishing. This means that we will participate on behalf of the Netherlands in the World Cup that will be fished on Linear Fisheries this year. Bianca is an angler within the team and Lizette fulfills the role of national coach.”
“Furthermore, we have been able to turn our hobby into our job, because we have started to specialise in photo and video of carp fishing and everything that goes with it.”
“The angling world is a reflection of society in which there is room for everyone, regardless of origin, orientation, religion, etc. An inclusive world is the most beautiful world.”
“Being a couple has certainly helped us in that we are very well attuned to each other and sharing a passion is absolutely wonderful.”
Women and LGBT+ inclusivity in angling
The popularity of angling among women in recent years has also been cause for celebration, and Lizette believes that the flexibility it offers for enhancing family life as well as the opportunities for forming teams and competing are key elements of this success. She says:
“I think more women are becoming interested in carp fishing because in this hectic world it is wonderful to be outside during your free time. Carp fishing brings together the fun of the great outdoors and being active. You can do it as a family, or individually, but also in a team, if you, like us, would like to add a competitive element.”
“In terms of angling being more inclusive for LGBT+ communities, the same applies to fishing as outside it. Embrace everyone as he/she is, don’t make a difference but look for similarities.”
Read more about how to get fishing with the family this half-term here.
Paula Marriott, an angler from Portsmouth, has been inspired as a member of the LGBT+ community following the achievements of Bianca and Lizette. She told us more about the impact of their achievements as a couple on her own angling ambitions plus why LGBT+ representation is so important. She says:
“In 2013 I had just dusted off my rods after a short break from fishing whilst I’d spent a few years at sea. One never loses the love for fishing and so I had dangled a line in a few far fetched places but I was super excited to get back to the pursuit of Carp.”
“Lizette and Bianca had just won the World Carp Classic in Italy and were truly making waves. They were the first females to win the competition and did so in some style. If that wasn’t incentive enough to hone some old skills, I don’t know what was.”
“The girls are still enjoying their fishing together and what better way to do it than with your bessie oppo and soul mate? They continue to proudly fly the rainbow flag as they did during their win in 2013 and inspire a new generation of female and LGBT+ anglers.”
“I’ve not yet reached the dizzy heights of these formidable pair, but who knows what the future holds? Maybe I could convince my ‘fishing wifey’ Jane Henthorn to one day attempt a World Carp Classic?”
Lizette Beunders and Bianca Venema celebrating their 2013 World Carp Classic win
Paula is currently working on her level two coaching qualification and can be found on instagram at @paula.the.wannabe.hauler and most recently @prettylittlethingswithhooks, her very own jewellery brand, which includes sterling silver creations inspired by angling.