dimanche 28 octobre 2018

2018 Worlds: 4 individual finals and an 11th place finish as a team!

The women's qualifications took place this Saturday and Sunday. Drawn in the very first subdivision, Belgium had to wait two full days to finally know if they had qualified for any finals. Recap! 

Credit: Rune Hermans Instagram
Even though the day didn't go as planned, with falls on bars and beam, Team Belgium managed to score 158.970 and place 11th, the same position as in 2014 and 2015, and qualified for 4 individual finals! Visibly upset after those mistakes, our girls can be very proud of themselves as a fall-free meet wouldn't have changed much in the standings.

Starting on floor, Maellyse Brassart displayed an entertaining routine, including a full twisting double pike and a double pike (12.833). Rune Hermans, who just came back, got 12.533, while Axelle Klinckaert scored 13.166 for her routine including a double layout, a full twisting double back and a double pike. Nina Derwael got the highest score of the team fer her elegant routine, with 13.266.

Moving on the vaults, the team showed 4 steady full-twisting Yurchenkos. Axelle got the highest score with 13.700. Things started to go a little bit off track on bars, with falls from Senna (11.466) and Axelle (12.033). Rune then managed to go clean and earned 13.000. All eyes were on Nina as she prepared herself for her bars set. She once again delivered and received a massive 15.066!

The team then went to beam, their last event of the day. Maellyse unfortunately fell twice (11.266) and Rune once (11.866). No problem for Axelle with a 13.175. Nina was breathtaking on beam, earning a great 13.766!

In addition to the 11th place finish as a team, which assures them a team spot at the 2019 Worlds, Nina Derwael and Axelle Klinckaert qualified for individual finals. Nina had an amazing qualification round with a 55.564 in the all-around. She not only qualified for the final, she did it by placing 4th, the highest ranking ever attained by a Belgian female gymnast at this level ! She'll be joined by Axelle Klinckaert, who had to wait until the very last subdivision. She placed 27th but will advance to the final thanks to the two-per-country rule, as three Americans, three Chineses and three Japaneses had placed ahead of her. She scored 52.072, a score she can easily improve in final.

Nina Derwael made a statement for the bars final, as she qualified in 1st place with the massive score of 15.066. The closest one was Simone Biles, with 14.866, two tenths behind. Already pointed as one of the favorites for a medal, Nina is now the favorite to win the World title. Icing on the cake, she'll also compete in the balance beam final. With 13.766, she qualified with the 6th score. Known for her bars, Nina has proved to be a great beam worker as well, something she showed the world back in August when she won a silver medal.

Team qualifications
1. United States 174.429 
2. Russia 165.497 
3. China 165.196 
4. Canada 163.897 
5. Brazil 162.529 
6. Japan 162.180 
7. France 161.629 
8. Germany 161.071
11. Belgium 158.970

All-around qualifications
1. Simone Biles (USA) 60.965
2. Morgan Hurd (USA) 56.465
3. Mai Murakami (JPN) 55.632
4. Nina Derwael (BEL) 55.564
27. Axelle Klinckaert (BEL) 52.074

Uneven bars qualifications
1. Nina Derwael (BEL) 15.066
2. Simone Biles (USA) 14.866
3. Elisabeth Seitz (GER) 14.566
4. Luo Huan (CHN) 14.466
5. Morgan Hurd (USA) 14.466
6. Aliya Mustafina (RUS) 14.433
7. Jonna Adlerteg (SWE) 14.433
8. Becky Downie (GBR) 14.400

Balance beam qualifications
1. Simone Biles (USA) 14.800
2. Kara Eaker (USA) 14.466
3. Zhang Jin (CHN) 14.100
4. Sanne Wevers (NED) 14.033
5. Ana Padurariu (CAN) 13.966
6. Nina Derwael (BEL) 13.766
7. Ellie Black (CAN) 13.733
8. Liu Tingting (CHN) 13.733

Competition continues all week long. The all-around final will take place on Thursday at 2pm (Belgian time). The bars final will be on Friday and the beam final on Saturday, both at 2pm. Don't forget that Sporza will be showing the finals live on TV!

vendredi 26 octobre 2018

2018 Worlds: 19th place as a team, Dennis Goossens 9th on rings!

The 2018 World Championships kicked off on Thursday morning with a two-day qualifications for the men's team. In a very tense couple of days, our Team Belgium placed 19th, while Dennis Goossens came very close of a World's final.

Credit: FfG
Our boys started their journey on the second subdivision (out of 10). Things started really well, with solid performances on vault and parallel bars. On vault, Jonathan Vrolix earned the highest score for the team with a 13.866, while Noah Kuavita proved to be the best on parallel bars, with 13.700. 

The horizontal bar was a rotation to forget, as both Maxime Gentges and Noah fell. Luka Van den Keybus got the highest score there, with a 12.833. The team reacted very well and immediately got to a good start in floor with strong scores from Maxime (13.733) and Noah (13.966). But it's Jonathan who stole the show with an impressive 14.066 !

If you've followed the men's qualifications from beginning to the end, you'd have noticed most of teams struggled with the pommel horse, counting multiple falls, even from favorites. Belgium didn't escape the pommels disaster, having to count a 10 in the team total. Maxime showed he could resist to the pressure by hitting his set, while the rest of the arena was ready to move on to the next apparatus (12.658).

The team finished on rings, with good performances, especially from Dennis Goossens, who got 14.533. With a total of 236.644, all the team at to do now was wait.

After two days of qualifications, Russia came on top. The Russians competed in the very first subdivision and managed to keep the lead all the way. With 258.402, they placed 1st, ahead of China (257.836) and Japan (253.312). The United States, Great Britain, Brazil, the Netherlands and Switzerland will join them in final.

Team qualifications
1. Russia 258.402
2. China 257.836
3. Japan 253.312
4. United States 250.362
5. Great Britain 249.836
6. Brazil 246.961
7. The Netherlands 245.663
8. Switzerland 245.186
19. Belgium 236.644

Individually, China's Xiao Ruoteng, last year's all-around champion, leads the qualification with 87.332, ahead of Russia's Nikita Nagornyy (87.098) and Samuel Mikulak from the United States (86.598). There will be no Belgians in the final that will gather the top 24 from qualifications. Jonathan Vrolix placed 32nd (78.830). Maxime Gentges is 42nd (78.082) and Noah Kuavita is 56th (76.599).

All-around qualifications
1. Xiao Rutoeng (CHN) 87.332
2. Nikita Nagornyy (RUS) 87.098
3.Samuel Mikulak (USA) 86.598
32. Jonathan Vrolix (BEL) 78.830
42. Maxime Gentges (BEL) 78.082
56. Noah Kuavita (BEL) 76.599

It was very close for Dennis Goossens, who still had a ticket for the rings final until the very last subdivision. He places 9th and will be the first reserve.

The 19th place finish as a team means that our Belgian guys qualified for the 2019 World Championships, that will serve as the last team qualifier for the Tokyo Olympics ! Even though they didn't manage to improve their best result (17th place in 2015), Belgium can be proud of what they accomplished here. 

Tomorrow, our girls will start their qualifications at 8:00 (Belgian time) on floor.

mercredi 24 octobre 2018

2018 Worlds : What to expect from Team Belgium?

Here we go again! On Thursday, the World Championships will begin in Doha (Qatar), gathering more than 500 gymnasts that will fight for the 42 medals that will be awarded. What to expect from Team Belgium? Preview.

Credit : Senna Deriks Instagram
These World Championships will be the first step towards the 2020 Olympic Games, as the first 3 teams in the team final will automatically be qualified. The top 24 teams in qualifications will advance to the 2019 World Championships.

In Doha, Belgium is represented by a men and a women's team. The men's team will compete on Thursday. Maxime Gentges, Noah Kuavita, Dennis Goossens, Luka Van den Keybus and Jonathan Vrolix will start on vault in the 2nd subdivision of the day. This team is a really talented one, possibly the best Belgium ever had. The goal is of course the top 24 but if they go clean, they can very well reach the top 16, which would be the best result ever by a Belgian men's team at a World Championships. The team is well balanced, with strong vaults, impressive performances on floor from Jonathan, on high bar from Noah, on pommels from Maxime, on parallel bars from Luka and on rings from Dennis. In addition to the team competition, at least one of them should qualify for the all-around final, while Dennis Goossens has a shot at qualifying for the rings final.

Credit : FfG Instagram

On the women's side, the team is composed of Nina Derwael, Maellyse Brassart, Axelle Klinckaert, Senna Deriks and Rune Hermans. The girls recently won a friendly meet against Romania and the Netherlands and showed they were ready during podium training. This team has the potential to place in the top 12 as a team, which is the official target, but if they all go clean, they could very well get close to the top 8. Their best result is an 11th place in 2014 and 2015. Individually, two of them should qualify for the all-around final. Start lists have yet to be released, but Nina and Axelle should do the all-around in qualifications. Senna is more likely to go on vault and bars, Maellyse on vault, beam and floor, with Rune competing on bars, beam and floor. Nina Derwael is also in contention for the bars final, where she'll have a chance to defend her bronze medal from last year, and Axelle has a shot at making the floor final, after she got bronze at the European Championships this summer. The girls will start on floor on October 27th, in the very first subdivision.

Programme (Belgian time):
25/10/2018 - 8:00:  Qualifications MAG (Belgium - Subdivision 2)
26/10/2018 - 8:00: Qualifications MAG
27/10/2018 - 8:00: Qualifications WAG (Belgium - Subdivision 1)
28/10/2018 - 8:00: Qualifications WAG
29/10/2018 - 15:00: Team final MAG
30/10/2018 - 15:00: Team final WAG
31/10/2018 -15:00: All-around final MAG
01/11/2018 - 15:00: All-around final WAG
02/11/2018 - 15:00: Event finals
03/11/2018 -15:00: Event finals

There will be no livestream for the qualifications but you can follow the scores live on the FIG website. The finals will be broadcasted on Sporza. And of course, follow us on Twitter for quick updates!

dimanche 7 octobre 2018

Road To Doha : Gold for the women, bronze for the men !

This weekend the girls competed in Bruges against the Netherlands and Romania, while the boys faced the Netherlands and France in Ghent. The ladies won their match while the men finished third, just a few weeks before the 2018 World Championships.

Maellyse Brassart, Senna Deriks, Nina Derwael, Rune Hermans and Axelle Klinckaert competed as a team. Julie Meyers and Dorien Motten competed as individuals in this competition that served as the final test for the Worlds Championships, later this year in Doha, Qatar.

credit: Gymfoto.eu
The girls started their competition on floor. Maellyse was first up and showed a steady routine with a beautiful piked full-in. Nina wowed the crowd with her expressive choreography and excellent leaps (13.400). Rune was as expressive and steady (12.550). Axelle closed the rotation for the team. She performed a high double layout, a piked full-in and a double pike (12.650).

Senna competed as an individual in the floor rotation and also performed steadily. She scored 12.250, as did Maellyse. Veteran and veterinarian gymnast Dorien Motten performed a skyhigh double arabian but sadly went out of bounds with both feet, which cost her several tenths. 

On vault, all the Belgian girls showed clean full twisting Yurchenko's. Only Dorien did a full twisting Tsukahara with a 4.8 difficulty-score, 2-tenths more than the full twisting Yurchenko. Axelle got the highest score with 13.800, closely followed by Nina (13.750),  Senna (13.650), Maellyse (13.600) and Julie (13.550). Dorien scored 13.350.

On uneven bars, all eyes were set on Nina, but the other girls also showed steady and impressive work. They all scored 13+,  only Naomi Visser from the Netherlands did the same. Senna was first up and scored 13.150 for her exercise including a piked Jaeger. Axelle got 13.450, while Rune added 13.500 to the team total. Nina showed a great Nabieva and a connection of the Derwael-Fenton combinaison to a shaposhnikova and pak salto with full turn. She scored 15.150. Maellyse, Julie and Dorien all showed decent routines.

Credit: Gymfoto.eu
Nina crashed during her beam mount but that didn't phase her. Apart from the mount, she performed cleanly and showed impressive wolf turns. She scored 13.250. Rune had some troubles on her wolf turn but managed to stay on the beam, with a new combination, free carthweel to a layout sommersault. Axelle and Maellyse were both rocksolid and scored 13.550. 

With 162.200, the Belgian team won the competition ahead of the Netherlands, competing without Sanne Wevers, and Romania. Our girls showed their readiness for the World Championships in Doha. A few more weeks are left for fine-tuning. 

Credit: Gymfoto.eu
Individually Nina Derwael won the gold, Dutch Naomi Visser the silver and Axelle Klinckaert got bronze.

Team results:
1. Belgium162.200
2. The Netherlands 157.05
3. Romania 151.25

Individual all-around:
1. Nina Derwael (BEL) 55.550
2. Naomi Visser (NED) 53.900
3. Axelle Klinckaert (BEL) 53.400
4. Denisa Golgota (ROU) 52.550
5. Maellyse Brassart (BEL) 52.350
6. Tisha Volleman (NED) 52.250
7. Senna Deriks (BEL) 51.250
12. Dorien Motten (BEL) 48.750
13. Julie Meyers (BEL) 48.700

In Ghent, our Men's team faced the teams from France and The Netherlands. Maxime Gentges, Noah Kuavita, Daan Kenis, Jonathan Vrolix, Jimmy Verbaeys, Takumi Onoshima, Luka Van den Keybus and Dennis Goossens took the bronze medal.

Credit : FfG
The Belgian team started really well on vault, with impressive performances from Noah Kuavita and Jonathan Vrolix with front handspring double front. Jonathan got the highest score with 14.550, followed by Daan Kenis (14.400) and Noah (14.250).

On parallel bars, Daan Kenis had to count a fall, and Jonathan made some mistakes, but the rest of the team did very well, with highlights from Luka Van den Keybus (14.550) and Jimmy Verbaeys (14.400).

On horizontal bar, Jimmy was once again impressive (13.800), but Noah stole the show with his releases (13.600). Maxime also got a good score for his routine and a full twisting double back dismount (13.500). The Flying Dutch Man Epke Zonderland was way above the rest of the field, with a 15.350 for his crazy combinations !

On floor, Belgium showed interesting routines, with 4 gymnasts breaking the 14 mark. Maxime got the highest score (14.350), followed by Jimmy (14.100), Noah and Luka (14.000). Jonathan unfortunately fell on his first pass but managed to get 13.700.

Pommel horse was a struggle for the Belgians, with Takumi, Jimmy, Jonathan and Daan falling at least once. Maxime struggled but didn't fall, to earn Belgium's highest score (12.950). The boys finished on rings, where the highlight came from Dennis Goossens, who got 14.950. Only France's Samir Aït Said did better, with 15.000. 

With a total score of 248.150, the boys took the bronze medal. France won the gold, with 251.150, and the Netherlands earned the silver (248.650).

Individually, France's Julien Gobaux won the all-around with 84.000, ahead of Maxime Gentges (81.650) and Noah Kuavita (81.550).

Credit : FfG
Team results:
1. France 251.150
2. The Netherlands 248.650
3. Belgium 248.150

All around results:
1. Julien Gobaux (FRA) 84.000
2. Maxime Gentges (BEL) 81.650
3. Noah Kuavita BEL) 81.550
4. Luka Van den Keybus (BEL) 81.000
6. Jimmy Verbaeys (BEL) 79.850
8. Jonathan Vrolix (BEL) 79.100
12. Takumi Onoshima (BEL) 76.750
16. Daan Kenis (BEL) 64.800 (5 events)
21. Dennis Goossens (BEL) 14.950 (1 event)

Next stop : Doha and the World Championships! The goal for our teams will be to place in the top 24, in order to qualify for the 2019 Worlds. But our gymnasts can also hope for more than one individual final!

WAG results: click here
MAG results: click here