samedi 25 juillet 2015

En route to Tbilisi!


Credit: gymfed.be

As of July 26, Tbilisi (Georgia) will host the European Youth Olympic Festival. This competition which includes several sports is a very good opportunity for young athletes aged from 14 to 18 years to gain experience. As usual, Belgium is sending a delegation, delegation which includes 6 gymnasts.

Who are our gymnasts?

On the women's side, the team is composed of Nina Derwael (TK Sta Paraat - PHH Hasselt vzw) , Axelle Klinckaert (GymMAX vzw) and Julie Meyers (TK Sta Paraat - PHH Hasselt vzw). These three athletes have, in my opinion, chances of medals, especially Nina Derwael, capable of scoring a 56 points total in the all-around competition (she scored 56,050 at the FIT Challenge). Her best apparatus is uneven bars, where Nina could also be in contention for a medal on this event.




Axelle Klinckaert also has experience and good results on the international stage: she reached three finals at the 2014 European Junior Championships in Sofia (all-around, balance beam and floor exercise). Axelle did not participate in the Belgian Championship this year due to an injury and has only competed on uneven bars at FIT Challenge.




Finally, Julie Meyers, third at this year's Belgian Championships, also competed at the FIT Challenge. This Olympic Festival will be the first major international competition for Julie.



On the men's side, Takumi Onoshima (Athanor Gym Club), Iliaz Pyncket (Vaste Vuist Lauwe) and Noah Kuavita (Silok Deurne) will represent Belgium. Each of these gymnasts has its individual qualities but also team ones, since they have already competed together.

Iliaz Pyncket finished second at this year's Belgian championships. He also has experience on the international stage. His best event is horizontal bar, but he is also a very good all-arounder.




Noah Kuavita, 3rd at the Belgian Championship this year, won the all-around competition at an international match against the Juniors teams from the Netherlands and Sweden. He wants to give the best of himself and will try to qualify for one or more finals.


At 15, Takumi Onoshima is the youngest of our male representatives, and perhaps the less experienced, but this festival is a great opportunity for Takumi to show what he can do and gain experience for the rest of his career.




In addition to those six gymnasts, 4 reserves have been named and will step in in case one of the team members gets injured.

Those reserves are:
Senna Deriks (Gymgroep AS)
Maellyse Brassart (Gym Phenix Auderghem)

Frederic De Camps (Dynamic Club Braine)
Lukas Fickers (TSV 1970 Rocherath)


What is the competition format?

The team competition will take place on  a 3-3-2 format: three gymnasts per team, three gymnasts compete on the apparatus, the best two scores count towards the team total.

The top 24 qualifies for the all-around final, while the top 8 on each event qualifies for the apparatus finals. The two-per-country rule is apply, meaning only two gymnasts from the same country can qualify for a final.  

When will the competition start for our gymnasts?

Our delegation took off this morning for Georgia. Our boys will begin their competition on July 28 while our girls will begin on July 29.

You can find all the results of our gymnasts on the website of the Fédération francophone de Gymnastique, on the website of the Gymnastiek Federatie Vlanderen and on the official site of the Festival Olympique de la Jeunesse européenne.

Gymnast's profile - Lisa Verschueren


Credit: Florence Lestienne



Date of birth: 14/06/1995 (20)
Club: Sportiva Sint-Gillis-Waas vzw - Topsportcentrum Ghent
Favourite event: uneven bars






Since she turned Seniors in 2011, Lisa Verschueren has consistently been part of the Belgian team in major championships. Alongside Gaelle Mys and Laura Waem, Lisa is an undisputed lock for the team. In, she travelled to Berlin. That year, the European Championships are individual, a good opportunity for Lisa to gain some experience. At the 2011 World Championships, she contributes to the good team result that allows Belgium to qualify for the Test Event in London.


In 2012, she finished 6th with her team at the European Championships in Brussels. 2nd of Belgian Championships in 2013, she reached the uneven bars final at the Challenger Cup in Doha. She finished the year 2013 with the World Championships in Antwerp where she placed 36th in the all-around qualifications.


Credit: Belga

Belgian champion in 2014, she then competed at the European Championships in Sofia and World Championships in Nanning, where Belgium achieved its best result (11th).

Again on the podium at the Belgian Championships in 2015 (3rd), she was 7th at the Flanders International Team Challenge and second with the team. In June, Lisa participated in the first ever European Games in Baku, where she qualified for the floor final and missed a medal (4th).


With such good results, Lisa has a very good chance to represent Belgium at the World Championships in Glasgow, where Belgium will try to qualify for the Test Event in Rio.




Results:
2015 - European Games (Baku): 10th (team), 22nd (all-around), 4th (floor exercise)
2015 - FIT Challenge (Ghent): 2nd (team), 7th (all-around)
2015 - Belgian Championships: 3rd (all-around)
2014 - World Championships (Nanning): 11th (team), 30th (all-around)
2014 - Belgian Championships: 1st (all-around)
2014 - European Championships (Sofia): 7th (team)
2014 - International Gymnix Canada (Montreal): 5th (all-around), 2nd (uneven bars)
2013 - Belgian Championships: 2nd (all-around)
2013 - World Challenger Cup (Doha): 8th (uneven bars)
2013 - World Championships (Antwerp): 36th (all-around)
2013 - Gymfinales (Ghent): 2nd (balance beam)
2012 - Belgian Championships: 3rd (all-around)
2012 - European Championships (Brussels): 6th (team)
2012 - Test Event Olympic Games (London): 5th (team)
2011 - International Gymnix Canada (Montreal): 18th (all-around), 9th (balance beam)
2011 - European Championships (Berlin): 31st (balance beam), 29th (floor exercise)
2011 - World Championships (Tokyo): 16th (team)
2010 - European Junior Championships (Birmingham): 11th (team)

vendredi 24 juillet 2015

Gymnast's profile - Gaelle Mys


Credit: Florence Lestienne





Date of birth: 16/11/1991 (23)

Club: O.T.V. Nazareth vzw - Topsportcentrum Ghent
Favourite event: balance beam








Gaelle is THE star of this Belgian team, the most experienced gymnast too, since the retirement of Aagje Vanwalleghem in 2012. Gaelle's first international event are the 2004 European Junior Championships (14th with the team). Two years later, in Volos, she significantly improves her performance from 2004, and even wins a bronze medal on floor exercise.


Her good results at 2007 Euros (16th AA) and Worlds (68th AA), and her performance in World Cups (one in 2007, three in 2008) allow her to represent Belgium at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, where she placed 24th in the all-around final. 



Between 2009 and 2012, Gaelle qualifies for no less than 6 finals at World Cups and Challenger Cups and won a bronze medal on beam (Doha 2011). The strong performances of the Belgian team at the 2010 (15th) and 2011 Worlds (16th) allows Yves Kieffer's gymnasts to qualify for the Test Event. team belgium then still hopes to qualify a full team to the 2012 Olympics.





Credit: Belga
Unfortunately, after some mistakes, Belgium finished in 5th place, 1 point behind Brazil and missed the team qualification. Julie croket (5th) and Aagje Vanwalleghem (13th) are ranked ahead of Gaelle (37th). An individual qualification seems difficult to reach for Gaelle. But shortly before the start of the Brussels European Championships, Aagje announces the end of her career. Julie, who had qualified for the floor exercise final (8th), got injured, a month before the Games begin. Gaelle is thus the first pick to represent Belgium at the London Olympics, where she finished in 31st place in the all-around qualification.


In 2013, she won gold on the balance beam at the International Gymnix Canada, before winning gold at the Belgian Championship. At the 2013 Worlds in Antwerp, she made History by qualifying, alongside Laura Waem, for the all-around final (18th). This was the first time ever that two Belgian gymnasts qualify for this final. In 2014, she was 3rd at the Belgian Championship. gaelle was then a member of the Belgian teams that were sent to the 2014 Euros (7th team) and Worlds (11th team).



This year, she ranked 2nd at the Belgian Championship, before participating in the Flanders International Team Challenge (2nd team). She then flew to Baku and the first European Games (10th team, sixth all-around).



She will try to be part of the team that will be send to the World Championships in Glasgow in October.





Results:
2015 - European Games (Baku) : 10th (team), 6th (all-around)
2015 - Belgian Championships: 2nd (all-around)
2015 - FIT Challenge (Ghent): 2nd (team)
2014 - World Championships (Nanning): 11th (team), 50th (all-around)
2014 - Belgian Championships: 3rd (all-around)
2014 - European Championships (Sofia): 7th (team), 11th (all-around)
2013 - Belgian Championships: 1st (all-around)
2013 - World Championships (Antwerp): 18th (all-around)
2013 - International Gymnix Canada (Montreal): 10th (all-around), 1st (balance beam)
2012 - World Challenger Cup (Ghent): 4th (balance beam)
2012 - Belgian Championships: 2nd (all-around)
2012 - European Championships (Brussels): 6th (team)
2012 - Olympic Games (London): 31st (all-around), 45th (uneven bars), 30th (balance beam), 51st (floor exercise)
2012 - Test Event (London): 5th (team), 37th (all-around)
2011 - World Challenger Cup (Doha): 3rd (balance beam), 5th (floor exercise), 7th (uneven bars)
2011 - World Championships (Tokyo): 16th (team), 75th (all-around)
2011 - World Challenger Cup (Ghent): 7th (floor exercise)
2010 - World Championships (Rotterdam): 15th (team)
2009 - World Cup (Stuttgart): 7th (floor exercise)
2009 - Gymfinales (Ghent): 2nd (balance beam), 1st (floor exercise)
2009 - Belgian Championships: 2nd (all-around)
2008 - Olympic Games (Beijing): 24th (all-around), 54th (uneven bars), 30th (balance beam), 47th (floor exercise)
2008 - World Cup (Barcelona): 4th (uneven bars), 7th (balance beam), 6th (floor exercise)
2008 - European Championships (Clermont-Ferrand): 17th (team)
2008 - World Cup (Doha): 7th (balance beam), 7th (floor exercise)
2007 - World Championships (Stuttgart): 68th (all-around)
2007 - World Cup (Ghent): 6th (floor exercise)
2007 - European Championships (Amsterdam): 16th (all-around)
2007 - WOGA Classic (United States): 17th (all-around), 2nd (floor exercise)
2006 - European Junior Championships (Volos): 9th (team), 6th (all-around), 7th (vault), 6th (balance beam), 3rd (floor exercise)
2004 - European Junior Championships (Amsterdam): 14th (team)

jeudi 23 juillet 2015

Gymnast's profile - Laura Waem


Credit: gymfed.be



Date of birth: 05/08/1997 (17)
Club: Sportiva Sint-Gillis-Waas vzw - Topsportschool Ghent
Favourite event: vault







Sometimes it feels like Laura Waem has been around for years, when in fact she only turned Seniors two years ago. This is probably due to the fact she is, since 2013, a rock for the Belgian team.


In 2012, as a junior, she participated at the European Championships in Brussels, where she was 30th in the all-around and 12th with the team. The following year, she went to the International Gymnix Canada (3 finals) and then to the Challenge Cup in Anadia (Portugal). At the Belgian Championship, she ranked 3rd, before winning gold on the uneven bars at the Gymfinales.

Credit: PN
Still in 2013, she was then selected for the World Championships in Antwerp where, with Gaelle Mys, she made History for Belgian gymnastics: it was the first time ever two Belgian gymnasts had qualified for the all-around final. Laura was 21st. In 2014 , she returned to Canada, where she reached three finals again (all-around , uneven bars and balance beam).

After a successful Belgian championship (2nd), she was selected for the European Championships in Sofia, where the Belgian team ranked 7th. She ended the year 2014 with the World Championships in China, where she contributed to the beautiful 11th place finish of the team and where she reached once again the all-around final ( 24th).


This year, a foot injury prevented her from competing at the Belgian Championship and the FIT Challenge. Let's hope Laura will recover in time for the 2015 World Championships!






Results:
2014 - World Championships (Nanning): 11th (team), 24th (all-around)
2014 - Belgian Championships: 2nd (all-around)
2014 - European Championships (Sofia): 7th (team), 7th (all-around)
2014 - International Gymnix Canada (Montreal): 6th (all-around), 7th (uneven bars), 8th (balance beam)
2013 - World Championships (Antwerp): 21st (all-around)
2013 - Belgian Championships: 3rd (all-around)
2013 - Gymfinales (Ghent) : 1st (uneven bars)
2013 - World Challenger Cup (Anadia): 7th (uneven bars)
2013 - International Gymnix Canada (Montreal): 12th (all-around), 6th (uneven bars), 4th (balance beam)
2012 - European Junior Championships (Brussels): 12th (team), 30th (all-around)

mardi 21 juillet 2015

Gymnast's profile - Julie Croket


Credit gymfed.be



Date of birth: 01/07/1994 (21)
Club: GymMAX vzw - Topsportcentrum Ghent
Favourite events: vault and floor exercise








Julie croket has long been seen as the next star of the Belgian team, and she was, before an ACL injury stopped her. She has now made a successful comeback. But let's have a look at the beginning of her career...

As a junior, she had shown great things, including an 8th place team finish and an 8th place on vault at the European Junior Championships in Clermont-Ferrand, in 2008. The following year, she travelled to Tampere (Finland) and the European Youth Olympic Festival, where she ranked 9th in the all-around.

She turned Senior in 2010 and won gold at the Belgian Championship. Selected for the European Championships in Birmingham, she finished 13th with team Belgium, before heading to Rotterdam for Worlds. The Belgian team finished in 15th place, while individually, Julie was 43rd.


The following year, in Tokyo, Belgium narrowly manages to qualify for the Test Event and continues its quest, hoping to send a full team to the London Olympics.


Credit: Belga

Unfortunately, mistakes at the Test Event cost a qualifying spot for team Belgium : in 5th place, Belgian gymnasts missed the Olympic qualification by one point and could only send one gymnast. With her good results at the European Championships in Berlin in 2011 (12th all-around, 4th on beam and 5th floor), Julie is naturally pointed as the number 1 choice. And the Brussels European Championships confirm this choice : with a 6th place team finish, the best result ever achieved, and an 8th place on floor, Julie shows her great skills. Before an injury deprives her from her dream.

We are at the end of June, in 2012, a month before the Olympic Games in London. While refining her preparation in France, Julie gets injured during a competition. The verdict: ACL injury. A few weeks before the Games, it is impossible for her to recover in time... It's finally Gaelle Mys, her teammate in Ghent that is sent to London.

But this injury has made Julie stronger, and she never thought about quitting gymnastics. She made a comeback at the Challenger Cup in Anadia, Portugal, where she qualified for two finals. Unfortunately another injury, elbow this time, deprives her of the World Championships in Antwerp.


She finally returns at the World Championships in 2014, and she contributed to the beautiful 11th place finish of the Belgian team. This year, she was set to compete at the first edition of the Flanders International Team Challenge, in Ghent, before eventually withdrawing due to a knee injury. She will try to win a spot for Worlds in Glasgow in October.




Want to know more about Julie? Watch this great reportage about her made by Sports2Visuals :




Results:
2014 - World Championships (Nanning): 11th (team)
2013 - World Challenger Cup (Anadia): 7th (balance beam), 5th (floor exercise)
2012 - Belgian Championships: 1st (all-around)
2012 - European Championships (Brussels): 6th (team), 8th (floor exercise)
2012 - Test Event Olympic Games (London): 5th (team), 5th (all-around)
2011 - International Gymnix Canada (Montreal): 1st (all-around), 1st (vault), 3rd (uneven bars), 2nd (balance beam), 1st (floor exercise)
2011 - European Championships (Berlin): 12th (all-around), 4th (balance beam), 5th (floor exercise)
2011 - World Championships (Tokyo): 16th (team)
2010 - European Championships (Birmingham): 13th (team), 9th (all-around)
2010 - Belgian Championships: 1st (all-around)
2010 - World Championships (Rotterdam): 15th (team), 43rd (all-around)
2010 - World Cup (Ghent): 2nd (floor exercise)
2009 - Belgian Junior Championships: 5th (two events)
2009 - European Youth Olympic Festival (Tampere): 10th (team), 9th (all-around)
2009 - Top Gym (Charleroi): 2nd (all-around), 1st (saut)
2008 - European Junior Championships (Clermont-Ferrand): 8th (team), 8th (vault)
2008 - Belgian Junior Championships: 2nd (all-around)
2008 - Gymfinales (Ghent): 1st (vault)

Gymnast's profile - Rune Hermans


Credit: Florence Lestienne



Date of birth: 09/05/1999 (16)
Club: Gym Haacht - Topsportschool Ghent
Favourite event: uneven bars








Rune Hermans is probably one of the biggest promises of Belgian gymnastics, along with Junior's Nina Derwael, Senna Deriks and Axelle Klinckaert. Rune competed with them at the 2014 European Junior Championships in Sofia. There, she finished in 6th place with the Belgian team and 9th in the all-around final.


She began her career as a Junior in 2011, at the International Gymnova Cup. In 2013, she placed 3rd at Nationals, before participating at the International Gymnix in Canada and the European Youth Olympic Festival in Utrecht.


Credit: UEG/Minkus Images

In 2014, in addition to the European Championships, she returned to Canada for the International Gymnix, where she reached four finals. This year, as a first year Senior, she placed 6th at the Belgian Championship, competing in only two events. At the Flanders International Team Challenge in Ghent, she was the best seniors among the Belgian team (6th) and she won a silver medal with the team.





Results: 
2015 - Belgian Championships: 6th (two events)
2015 - FIT Challenge (Ghent): 2nd (team), 6th (all-around)
2014 - Belgian Junior Championships: 2nd (all-around)
2014 - European Junior Championships (Sofia): 6th (team), 9th (all-around)
2014 - International Gymnix Canada (Montreal): 6th (all-around), 4th (uneven bars), 8th (balance beam), 5th (floor exercise)
2014 - Elite Gym Massilia (Marseille): 3rd (team), 2nd (all-around), 6th (balance beam), 2nd (floor exercise)
2013 - Elite Gym Massilia (Marseille) : 7th (team), 17th (all-around)
2013 - European Youth Olympic Festival (Utrecht): 8th (team), 20th (all-around)
2013 - International Gymnix Canada (Montreal): 23rd (all-around), 7th (floor exercise)
2013 - Belgian Junior Championships: 3rd (all-around)
2012 - International Gymnova Cup (Keerbergen): 3rd (balance beam)
2011 - International Gymnova Cup (Keerbergen): 2nd (all-around), 3rd (vault), 2nd (uneven bars), 4th (balance beam), 4th (floor exercise)

Gymnast's profile - Jelle Beullens


Credit: gymfed.be





Date of birth: 08/061999 (16)
Club: De Gympies Keerbergen - Topsportschool Ghent







Jelle Beullens had a promising start among the junior ranks in 2012, when she competed at the Top Gym in Charleroi (4th in the all-around), a competition that gathers some of the best junior gymnasts from all around the world. In the past, gymnasts such as Jordyn Wieber, Shawn Johnson, Maria Olaru or Lilia Podkopayeva competed there.


Credit: gympies.be

In 2014, she earned a bronze medal at the Belgian Championships and was then sent to Sofia for the 2014 European Junior Championships, where team belgium placed 6th. She was supposed to represent Belgium at the Youth Olympic Games but she withdrew before the start of the competition due to injury. She has not competed since then. Now a senior, let's hope she recovers well and tries to fight for a spot in the World's team!




Results:
2014 - Belgian Junior Championships: 3rd (all-around)
2014 - European Junior Championships: 6th (team)
2014 - Massilia Gym Cup (Marseille): 9th (team), 18th (all-around)
2013 - Woga Classic (United States): 9th (all-around)
2013 - European Youth Olympic festival (Utrecht): 8th (team)
2012 - Top Gym Charleroi: 4th (all-around)

Gymnast's profile - Cindy Vandenhole


Credit: Florence Lestienne



Date of birth: 08/03/1999 (16)
Club: Vaste Vuist Lauwe - Topsportschool Ghent
Favourite events: uneven bars and vault








At 16 years old, Cindy Vandenhole made a splash onto the Senior stage. Just a few months after leaving the junior ranks, she became National Champion and participated at the first ever European Games in Baku.

Injured for a long period of time, Cindy only competed on uneven bars and beam for nearly a year and a half. Still, this did not prevent her from participating in several major international events, as a junior, such as the European Championships in 2014 (6th with the team).


In 2013, she travelled to Montreal for the International Gymnix and then to Utrecht for the European Youth Olympic Festival, events that allowed her to gain experience.


Credit : Reuters

This year, after winning the Belgian champion title, she flew to Baku and the European Games. If she did not qualify for all-around final ( 25th), she nevertheless finished in 10th place in the team competition, competition that gathered some of the best nations in Europe.


She will try to be selected for the World Championships in Glasgow, championships where Belgium will try to earn a qualifying spot for the Test Event, and then the Rio Olympic Games, Cindy 's dream.








Results: 
2015 - European Games (Baku): 10th (team), 25th (all-around)
2015 - Belgian Championships: 1st (all-around)
2015 - FIT Challenge (Ghent): 2nd (team)
2014 - Belgian Junior Championships: 4th (all-around)
2014 - European Junior Championships (Sofia): 6th (team)
2013 - Belgian Junior Championships: 2nd (all-around)
2013 - International Gymnix (Canada): 6th (team), 20th (all-around)
2013 - European Youth Olympic Festival (Utrecht): 8th (team), 17th (all-around)
2012 - Top Gym (Charleroi): 3rd (team), 16th (all-around), 8th (balance beam), 5th (uneven bars)
2012 - Tournoi International (Combs-la-ville): 3rd (team), 6th (all-around), 5th (uneven bars), 2nd (floor exercise)

Gymnast's profile - Dorien Motten


Credit: Florence Lestienne




Date of birth: 19/07/1991 (24)
Club: Turnkring Bilzen vzw - Topsportcentrum Ghent
Favourite event: vault







Dorien Motten has had an unusual gymnastics career so far, compared to her teammates on the national team. She has joined the elite ranks when she was already a senior, in 2013. That year, she placed 5th at Belgian Championships. 

In 2014 , she was sent to her first European Championships, at 23 years old. She did not contributed to her team's score (Lin Versonnen either), Belgium relying on Laura Waem, Lisa Verschueren and Gaelle Mys.

That same year, she was also a reserve on the team at the World Championships, held in Nanning (China), where Belgium finished in 11th place .


Credit : Liesbeth Coremans


This year, she finished off the podium at Belgian Championships ( 4th). Dorien then participated in the first edition of the Flanders International Team Challenge in Ghent, where she competed in qualification with the Belgian team.

She will try to be selected for the World Championships that will be held in Glasgow in October.




Results: 
2015 - Belgian Championships: 4th (all-around)
2015 - FIT Challenge (Ghent): 2nd (team)
2014 - World Championships (Nanning): 11th (team)
2014 - Belgian Championships: 5th (all-around)
2014 - European Championships (Sofia): 7th (team)
2014 - WOGA Classic (United States): 12th (all-around)
2013 - Belgian Championships: 5th (all-around)

Gymnast's profile - Hélia Hocquet


Credit: Florence Lestienne




Date of birth: 26/07/1998 (16)
Club: Gym Passion Herseaux - CHN Mons
Favourite event: floor exercise














Hélia Hocquet began gymnastics at age 7 at Gym Passion Herseaux. She quickly makes progress and the need to train in an Elite structure arises. In 2010, she joins the Elite centre in Mons.

She participated in several international events including the Tournoi International in Combs-La-Ville (France), the International Gymnix Canada and a friendly match against the Spanish team.


She was a reserve for the European Junior Championships which were held in Brussels in 2012, before one of her teammates, Mathilde Schoonbroodt, got injured. She was then a on the team. In Brussels, she ranked 12th with the Belgian team.


Credit: Els De Nil 


She turned Senior in 2014, and was 6th at Belgian Championships. This year, she did even better, placing 5th, before competing in the first edition of the Flanders International Team Challenge in Ghent, where she contributed in team belgium's score in qualifications.



Results:
2015 - Belgian Championships: 5th (all-around)
2015 - FIT Challenge (Ghent): 2nd (team), 52nd (all-around)
2014 - Belgian Championships: 6th (all-around)
2012 - Belgian Junior Championships: 4th (all-around)
2012 - European Junior Championships (Brussels): 12th (team)
2012 - International Gymnix (Canada): 22nd (all-around)
2012 - Belgium v Spain Juniors: 2nd (team)
2012 - Tournoi international Juniors (Combs-la-ville): 6th (team), 21st (all-around)

dimanche 19 juillet 2015

Gymnast's profile - Jimmy Verbaeys


Credit: sporza.be



Date of birth: 26/08/1993 (21)
Club: Blauwput Omnisport - Topsportcentrum Ghent









Jimmy Verbaeys is probably one of the most famous gymnasts in Belgium. Originally from Brussels, he started gymnastics at the age of 3, in Saint-Gilles first, then in Auderghem. Because of the lack of Elite structures in Wallonia (now solved with the Elite Centre in Mons), he left for Ghent at the end of primary school.

The language barrier fading gradually, Jimmy flourishes and finds his rhythm. He joined the Juniors ranks in 2008, placing 5th at the Belgian Championships. The following year, he travelled to Tampere and the European Youth Olympic Festival, and then to the Wase Gym Cup.


In 2010, he participated in his first European Junior Championships in Birmingham, where he reached the final on pommel horse (5th). The same year, he won silver at National. But that's not all: at 17 years old, he joined the senior ranks in October and is selected for the World Championships in Rotterdam. Unfortunately, the team misses a qualifying spot for the 2011 World Championships and thus a qualifying spot for the London Olympics. In 2011, Jimmy competed individually at the Euro in Berlin and Worlds in Tokyo.


Credit: getty images

He won a silver medal in the all-around at Belgian Championships in 2012, before flying to Montpellier and the European Championships, where the Belgian team ranked 14th. In June, he heard the news that he will represent Belgian men's gymnastics at the Olympic Games in London. He earned an individual qualifying spot at the Challenger Cup in Maribor, where he scored, on parallel bars, a score that would have allowed him to reach the final at Worlds in 2011.

In 2008, in Beijing, Koen Van Damme had represented Belgium, a first since the 1960 Olympic Games for a male gymnast from Belgium. Not only Jimmy Verbaeys followed in the footsteps of his elder, but he did even better, as he qualified for the all-around final. This was the first time in the history of Belgian men's gymnastics that a gymnast qualified for a final in the Olympics.

Verbaeys continued his path. He reached again the all around final at the European Championships in 2013. Last year, in Nanning, he contributed to the 19th place finished of Team Belgium at Worlds, a place that qualifies Belgium for the 2015 World Championships in Glasgow in October. With this result, Belgium can still dream of an Olympic qualification.


Crowned Belgian champion in March, Jimmy Verbaeys also participated at the first ever European Games in Baku, where he finished in 16th place in the all-around and 18th with the team.





Results:
2015 - European Games (Baku): 18th (team), 16th (all-around)
2015 - Belgian Championships: 1st (all-around)
2014 - World Championships (Nanning): 19th (team), 53rd (all-around)
2014 - European Championships (Sofia): 11th (team), 8th (all-around)
2014 - Belgian Championships: 2nd (all-around)
2013 - World Championships (Antwerp): 37th (all-around)
2013 - European Championships (Moscow): 21st (all-around)
2012 - Olympic Games (London): 21st (all-around), 38th (floor exercise), 67th (pommel horse), 52nd (still rings), 42nd (parallel bars), 33rd (horizontal bar)
2012 - World Challenge Cup (Doha): 5th (sol)
2012 - Belgian Championships: 2nd (all-around)
2012 - European Championships (Montpellier): 14th (team)
2011 - World Championships (Tokyo): 67th (all-around)
2011 - European Championships (Berlin): 37th (all-around)
2010 - World Championships (Rotterdam): 28th (team), 93rd (all-around)
2010 - Belgian Junior Championships: 2nd (all-around)
2010 - European Junior Championships (Birmingham): 6th (team), 5th (pommel horse)
2009 - Wase Gym Cup: 1st (team), 5th (all-around), 5th (pommel horse)
2009 - European Youth Olympic Festival (Tampere): 7th (team)
2009 - Belgian Junior Championships: 6th (all-around)
2008 - Belgian Junior Championships: 5th (all-around)