dimanche 26 juin 2016

Dennis Goossens en route to the 2016 Olympic Games!

On Saturday 25 June, both our National teams were competing in the Dutch Open in Rotterdam, a competition that would serve as the last Olympic trials. If we don't know yet who will make the Women's team, Dennis Goossens on the other hand secured his ticket to Rio!

Credit: Liesbeth Coremans
During the week, the Federation had published the criteria our gymnasts had to meet in order to qualify for the Games. In case none of them would achieve those criteria, the best all-arounder would have been selected to represent Belgium at the Olympic Games.

Known for his beautiful work on rings, Dennis Goossens (TK Kerels Waasmunster) took everybody by surprise by meeting the minimum score set on that event, the last one for Team Belgium yesterday. With 15.800, he secured his individual spot on the Belgian delegation with style. With a personal best (if I record right), Dennis earned his Olympic spot fair and square, as he was brilliant and flawless yesterday. He hit when it counted the most and he won. I'm sure Dennis will make us proud and will make us dream in Rio. After a successful 2016 season which saw him win a medal in a World Cup event and reach an event final at the European Championships, this selection is the icing on the cake for a talented and dedicated gymnast.

Credit: Mathias Hikketik
Of course, even though they were happy for Dennis, you could tell the other Belgians were a bit disappointed. This 2015-2016 season has been a rollercoaster of emotions : they missed the qualification for the Test Event in October, learned they were finally in in January, had to prepare as a team instead of as individuals, then finished 7th, and even though they earned an individual ticket, the battle was not over as making it to the Olympics is every gymnast's dream.

Yesterday, Jimmy Verbaeys (Blauwput Omnisport), Maxime Gentges (Gymclub Malmedy), Daan Kenis (Turnkring De Eik Lommel) and Florian Landuyt (Sportac Deinze) were the four gymnasts competing on all 6 events and who were trying to finish on top to make it to the Olympics. Had Dennis not meet the requirement, the Olympic spot would have gone to Florian Landuyt who, with 85.000 outscored Jimmy Verbaeys (84.900). This was Florian's first all-around competition since he ruptured his Achilles in Glasgow last year. Maxime Gentges was not that far behind (83.850) but both him and Daan Kenis (78.600) had uncharacteristic mistakes. 

Credit: Mathias Hikketik
Also in the run for the Olympic ticket were Bram Louwije (Turnkring Vlamertinge) and Kristof Schroé (Spagaatje Hoogstraten). Bram was only competing on pommel horse, and yesterday wasn't a good day for him as he unfortunately fell twice. Kristof had a mistake on horizontal bar (but still managed to score 14.250) and fell on pommel horse. With those mistakes, they fell short on their Olympic spot hunt.

Credit: Mathias Hikketik
Now, I know it might take them a few days to process this competition and the fact their "fight" for Olympic Games is now over. They might have some regrets, but in my opinion, they should not. They gave it all in the past 4 years, climbing the rankings fast, making it to all-around and event finals at World and European Championships. I know I wouldn't have been able to choose one gymnast to compete, they all deserved in their own way to qualify. Jimmy is National champion and the 2012 Olympian, Maxime won a medal at a World Cup event, Daan has tremendously improved in the all-around, Florian came back stronger than ever, Bram and Kristof have been battling injuries but kept fighting. And Dennis, well. What else to say? But in the end, we knew it would all come down to that one gymnast. I'm sure the future still has something in store for them. This can't be the end. 2020 will approach fast and with this new quad, new opportunities to make your dream come true.

Boys, I want to thank you for eveything you made us witness this past years. You stepped up your game, put Belgian gymnastics on the World's map and proved that you are now a team we have to count on. I wish you all the best. And the best is yet to come.

Full results here
Videos here

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