Tuesday, February 9, 2010

CATCHING UP WITH BELGIUM...

There have been a few upheavals in the Belgian gymnastics camp this past year. The appointment of new head coach Yves Kieffer has apprently rocked the Belgian boat a little (okay, a lot), particularly when Kieffer decided not to send gymnasts to last year's world Championships, but rather to concentrate on a future for the program. This and other issues that arose during the upheaval rankled with many, including VanWalleghem, who decided, after only just returning to the central training center after the 2009 Euros to return to her personal coach.

You might remember Triple Full reporting about all the issues that erupted in Belgian gymnastics after the previous head coach was fired in favor of Yves.  Many gymnasts went on strike and some left the gym. 
2008 Olympian Gaelle Mys decided to stay, and trains in the same facility as Julie Croket and Belgium's top male gymnasts. Joilien Eggermont, who has only recently become a senior, will also be there working on upgrading and improving for 2010


Croket will be particularly welcomed inot the senior ranks as Belgium's older gymnast's, Gaelle Mys and Aagje VanWalleghem. Aagje, who had such great results at the European Championshsips last year and was Belgian Women's Champion, has not been seen since she competed in the Stuttgart World Cup. Sick, she did not have the meet she hoped for.


The Belgian gymnasts also spent some time in Decemeber training at a Russian training camp. This should have given them ample opportunity to check out the competition!

I thought it was about time I checked in on those Belgian Croket sisters too.  You might remember I talked about Julie after the EYOF meet last year.  She is one of Belgium's greatest juniors on the rise.  Her sister Stephanie, younger than Julie, is having a great time in the sport too.

Julie had some terrific success last year at the TopGym contest in Charleroi, Belgium.  She placed second in the all-around after Larissa Iordache.  Gymnasts were only allowed to compete in two individual events after the all-around and Julie made a great showing in both, taking fourth in beam and winning the floor exercise.  Topgym had some very strong junior competition, including Iordache and Bulimar from Romania as well as Chiara Gandolfini of Italy, Madison Kocian of the USA and Lisa Van de Burg of the Netherlands.



This was all very good news considering Julie had hurt her foot during the Belgian Championshsips and had to be taken to hospital some months before.  She still won an award for being one of the most valuable sportspeaople in her home town.  Her sister, Stephanie, took third.

Julie is training 32 hours a week and has not competed yet this year.  I am looking forward to seeing her results this year, as it will be quite a test to compete well against those up-and-coming Russian girls.  She should be competing as a senior this year (born in 1994) i believe.

Watch her gold-winning Topgym floor routine, which in many ways reminds me of junior Romanian floor routines..


or HERE


It remains to be seen if Kieffer's upheaval of the Belgian gymnastics program will do their gymnasts good.  Here is hoping it was people railing against much needed change, rather than a series of unnecessary upsets and Belgian gymnastics flourishes again as they take the time to build their program.



*****

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for talking about Belgian gymnastics. I am Belgian myself, but hardly know anything about our gymnasts. There is hardly any gymnastics on tv here, I always need to turn to the internet or BBC and they don't often cover Belgian gymnasts.

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  2. Hm...this is a different mix of the music Elena Zamolodchikova used for the Sydney 2000 Games! :)

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