mercredi 15 juillet 2015

Gymnast's profile - Gilles Gentges


Date of birth: 14/02/1990 (25)
Club: Gym Club Malmedy - CHN Mons
Favourite events: parallel bars and horizontal bar

I have to say, I have and will always have a soft spot for Gilles Gentges in my gymnastics "favourite stories". I had the chance to meet him in person when I made my reportage at the Elite Centre in Mons and I was quite impressed with his gymnastics background. At 25, Gilles has had two careers, careers that are very distinct and yet very similar.

Let's go back to the beginning, shall we? In 2009, when he was still training as a Junior in his hometown club in Malmedy, he was selected to participate at the European Championships in Lausanne, where he placed 15th with the Belgian team. When he turned Senior, he chose to move on to an elite structure. Before the Elite Centre was created in Mons, the best gymnasts of the country trained in Ghent (it's always the case, let's be clear, but there is now an equivalent in the Southern part of Belgium). This is where Gilles began his "first" elite career. 

The following year, now a Seniors, he went to his first World Championship in London, where the 2012 Olympic Games would take place, three years later. No team competition but an individual one, the opportunity for Gilles to compete against the best gymnasts in the world.

Then comes 2010. Crowned National Champion, he flies to Birmingham for the European Championships and then to Rotterdam for the World Championships, a crucial step for the Olympic qualification. And there is the disillusionment. Belgium fails to rank among the first 24 nations and will not be able to send fulll teams at the 2011 Worlds, nor the Olympic Games. 28th, the Belgian gymnasts are three points away from a qualifying spot. Gilles, who needs to undergo a knee surgery, steps back and chooses to concentrate himself on his studies.

Credit: Belga

Three years later, he decided to come back. This time, he chooses to train at the Elite Center in Mons. But he is not alone, since his brother, Maxime, already trains there since the beginning of 2009. An injury will prevent him to compete at the 2014 World Championships but Gilles comes back stronger in 2015: 5th at the last Belgian championships, he is then selected to participate at the first ever European Games in Baku (Azerbaijan). He then flew to Korea and the Summer Universiade, where team Belgium finishes in 8th position. The Universiade is also the first international competition where the two brothers compete together.

Before, why not, the World Championships in Glasgow ...

2015 - Summer Universiade (Gwangju) : 8th (team), 27th (all-around), 45th (floor exercise), 52nd (pommel horse), 43rd (still rings), 54th (parallel bars), 32nd (horizontal bar)
2015 - European Games (Baku): 18th (team), 41st (all-around), 53rd (floor exercise), 59th (pommel horse), 45th (still rings), 35th (parallel bars), 51st (horizontal bar)
2015 - Belgian Championships: 5th (all-around)
2014 - Belgian Championships: 5th (all-around)
2013 - Belgian Championships: 6th (all-around)
2013 - Voronin Cup (Moscow): 6th (team), 20th (all-around), 4th (horizontal bar)
2010 - World Championships (Rotterdam): 28th (team), 94th (all-around)
2010 - European Championships (Birmingham): 13th (team)
2010 - Belgian Championships: 1st (all-around)
2010 - Austrian Open Turnen (Linz): 3rd (team), 14th (all-around)
2010 - International Gymsport (Porto): 2nd (team), 1st (all-around)
2009 - Belgian Championships: 3rd (all-around)
2009 - World Championships (London): 74th (all-around), 110th (floor exercise), 73rd (pommel horse), 74th (still rings), 59th (parallel bars), 55th (horizontal bar)
2008 - European Junior Championships (Lausanne): 15th (team), 48th (all-around)

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