The World Championships (Glasgow, October 23 - November 1) start in less than 10 days ! Now that the preparation of our women's team is over, it's time to see a little further and try to see what are the strengths and weaknesses of the team.
|Crédit: Florence Lestienne|
11th last year, the objective of Belgium for this year is not so different: the top 16 and a qualifying spot for the Test Event! Personally, I think the team can approach the top 10 once again.
At the press conference organized by the Royal Belgian Gymnastics Federation on September 23, Yves Kieffer, the national coach announced his team :
* Gaelle Mys (OTV Nazareth)
* Lisa Verchueren (Sportiva Sint-Gillis-Waas)
* Rune Hermans (Gym Haacht)
* Cindy Vandenhole (Vaste Vuist Lauwe)
* Laura Waem (Sportiva Sint-Gillis-Waas)
* Julie Croket (GymMax)
* Jelle Beullens (De Gympies Keerbergen)
* Dorien Motten (Turnkring Bilzen)
Three gymnasts should compete on all four apparatuses during qualifications: Gaelle Mys, Rune Hermans and Lisa Verschueren. This season, they have achieved very good results, with fairly constant scores, and they have the potential to reach the all around final.
In addition to these three gymnasts, Belgium can also count on Cindy Vandenhole. The National champion also has the potential to get good scores on all four apparatuses. Then we have Laura Waem. All around finalist last year, she had some ankles issues this year, including an operation. But her return is dazzling: on September 13 in Mouscron, she only competed on uneven bars, performing a simplified routine. In Italy, this Saturday, she presented the four apparatuses and got the 4th total among the Belgian girls, just 0.150 behind Gaelle Mys. If she won't present the all around in Glasgow, Laura can still contribute significantly to the team total, especially on bars. And then there's Julie Croket. She got injured during the friendly meet against Sweden and Austria and is now on a race against time to be ready. Her participation or not will be determined last minute. If she is not fit enough, Jelle Beullens will replace her. Recently she has only competed on balance beam and floor exercise, but she is also preparing vault.
Here is how I see things:
On this apparatus, no real surprises. All the gymnasts perform the same vault: a Yurchenko with one twist. Vault is not the best event for Laura. I expect to see Lisa, Rune, Gaelle and Cindy here. They realize good vaults, with scores above 13.5 and close to 14. If Julie is ready, she would take the 5th spot in my opinion.
In addition to the three all arounders, Laura can highly contribute to the team total on bars. At the Novara Cup, she earned a 14.450! Cindy can also score high here. In Mouscron, she scored 13.700.
The biggest problem for Belgium recently... Both in Mouscron and in Novara, the girls struggled on balance beam. Gaelle was the only one who performed two clean routines, with a potential to score 14 points or more, if she hits all her connections. Rune can get a score around 13.500, and so can Lisa. Laura has a higher difficulty score than Cindy on this apparatus (5.5 against 5.1). But they both have not had easy routines recently. And let's not forget Julie. If she's healthy, she could also contribute to the team total.
This is where Julie's absence, if the injury does not allow her to compete, could cost us the most. In Mouscron, although she put her hands down on her last tumbling pass, she really seemed on her way back with a routine combining difficulty and expressiveness. She has the potential to score 14 points or more on this event. That's also the case of Lisa, who got 14 points in Novara. Gaelle and Rune can get scores around 13.800. The fifth gymnast on this event would be Cindy rather than Laura, in my opinion. But if Julie can't compete, I would choose Laura rather than Jelle. They have similar difficulty scores (4.7), but Laura scored higher in Italy (13.250 against 12.850). And in qualifications, all the tenths matter.
So, in my opinion:
Vault: Rune Hermans, Gaelle Mys, Lisa Verschueren, Cindy Vandenhole, Julie Croket/Laura Waem
Uneven bars: Rune Hermans, Gaelle Mys, Lisa Verschueren, Cindy Vandenhole et Laura Waem
Balance beam: Rune Hermans, Gaelle Mys, Lisa Verschueren, Laura Waem, Cindy Vandenhole/Julie Croket
Floor exercise: Rune Hermans, Gaelle Mys, Lisa Verschueren, Cindy Vandenhole, Julie Croket/Laura Waem
As I said it in the article prefacing the potential of the men's team, anything could happen in competition. But I'm sure the women's team has what it takes to approach the top 10!