In less than 2 months, the Olympic flame will be lit in Tokyo. Which Belgian athletes are certainly there in the Japanese capital and which Belgians still have a chance? In this Olympic week we made an overview.
Three Belgian relay teams on the 4×400 meters (Belgian Tornados, Belgian Cheetahs and the mixed team) are there. Eight individual athletes can already prepare their trip to Japan.
Bashir Abdi, Dieter Kersten, Koen Naert, Mieke Gorissen and Hanne Verbruggen will run the marathon in Sapporo. Isaac Kimeli (5,000 and 10,000m), Ben Broeders (pole vault), Hanne Claes (400m hurdles) and Nafi Thiam (heptathlon, long jump and high jump) already met the Olympic limit.
The other Belgians can still qualify for Tokyo in 2 ways: whether they meet the limit on their number or they are high enough on the ranking (WR) on June 29. These Belgians are currently in a place that entitles them to an Olympic ticket.
|200 meter||Imke Vervaet||44||56|
|800 meter||Renee Eykens||30||48|
|1.500 meter||Elise Vanderelst||33||45|
|100 meters hurdles||Eline Berings||35||40|
|400 meters hurdles||Paulien Couckuyt||30||40|
|high jump||Claire Orcel||26||32|
|pole vault||Fanny Smets||32||32|
|200 meter||Robin Vanderbemden||43||56|
|400 meter||Jonathan Sacoor||24||48|
|800 meter||Elliot Crestan||34||48|
|1.500 meter||Ismael Debjani||34||48|
|5.000 meter||Robin Hendrix||29||42|
|110 meters hurdles||Michael Obasuyi||34||40|
|discus throw||Philip Milanov||25||32|
|decathlon||Thomas Van der Plaetsen||19||24|
Jolien D’hoore and Lotte Kopecky drive the women’s team race in Tokyo. One of them will also participate in the omnium. The Belgians are also present on the same numbers for men.
More than likely Kenny De Ketele and Robbe Ghys will drive the team race, who will take care of the omnium has yet to be decided.
And then Nicky Degrendele may hope a little bit more for Tokyo. The 2019 world champion keirin has to count on the forfeit of others for this.
The qualification period will close on June 15th. The top 38 of the Olympic ranking (2 participants per country from the top 16, then 1 participant per country) can participate. Lianne Tan is gradually allowed to pack her bags, because she is in 24th place.
The Belgian Cats are one of the spearheads of the Belgian Olympic team. The Belgian basketball women are allowed to go to the Olympic Games for the first time, they qualified in their own country in 2020. In the group stage they hit Australia, China and Puerto Rico.
Only 8 men’s and 8 women’s teams are allowed to participate in Tokyo. With the men, Belgium still has a chance to be there. At this week’s Olympic qualifying tournament in Austria, 3 Olympic tickets are still available. A very last chance in Hungary may follow at the beginning of June. The last team can qualify there.
On June 13, 15 couples will secure a place in the Olympic tournament via the Olympic ranking. Dries Koekelkoren and Tom van Walle are only in 25th place on that selected ranking and therefore only have a chance to reach Tokyo via the last European qualifying tournament at the end of June in Scheveningen. There is a ticket ready for the winner of the tournament.
Delfine Persoon has had to put her Olympic dream away, but a few Belgians still have a chance at the European qualifying tournament in Paris (4 / 6-8 / 6). Mohamed Rachem (-69kg), Lancelot Proton de la Chapelle (-75kg), Ziad El-Mohor (-81kg) and Victor Schelstraete (-91kg) are still in the running for Tokyo.
Belgium as a team could not yet qualify for the Olympic Games. Ben Adriaensen, Jarno De Smedt and Senna Roos are trying to change that at the European Archery Championships in Turkey from May 31 to June 6. If the Belgians fail to do so, they will have one last chance at Olympic qualification in Paris at the end of June.
As it stands now, Nina Sterckx still has a chance to be there in Tokyo. The weightlifting qualification system is an inscrutable tangle, but we’ll try to explain.
If Sterckx is in the top 8 of the world rankings on June 25 or is the best European outside of that top 8, then she certainly is. But due to the restrictions that some countries have imposed on doping violations, it may also be that Sterckx is moving up that ranking.
With her bronze medal at the European Championships and the silver at the World Championships for juniors, Sterckx has done everything herself. Sterckx decided to opt for the -49kg class, in which she has even more chance of a ticket.
There is a very good chance that Belgium will be allowed to send 3 golfers to the Olympic Games. In the men Thomas Pieters and Thomas Detry are in the top 60 of the Olympic ranking, in the women this applies to Manon De Roey. The ranking will be concluded at the end of June, 21/6 for men and 28/6 for women.
As European and world champions, the Red Lions are one of the favorites for Olympic gold in Tokyo. Unfortunately, the Red Panthers were unable to qualify, they lost to China after a shootout.
If logic is respected, 4 Belgian judokas will travel to Japan for the Olympic Games. Charline Van Snick (6th in -52kg), Jorre Verstraeten (14th in -60kg), Matthias Casse (1st in -81kg) and Toma Nikiforov (15th in -100kg) are almost certainly placed due to their position in the Olympic ranking. They will receive certainty on June 28.
Two judokas have “bad luck”. Gabriella Willems was on her way to qualifying, but she tore the cruciate ligaments of her knee. Sami Chouchi is a victim of the rule that a country may only send 1 judoka per weight class and, just like Casse, he is fighting in the -81 kilograms.
kano / kajak
Lize Broekx and Hermien Peters had already qualified with their 4th place at the World Cup in 2019. They were joined by Artuur Peters in the boat to Tokyo in May.
Peters won the K1 1,000 meters in the Olympic qualifying tournament and, just like four years ago, can go to the Olympic Games. At the beginning of this week, Gabriel De Coster also received good news. The 20-year-old kayaker was fished for the Olympic Games in the K1 in the slalom.
No Belgian could secure an Olympic starting ticket through the Olympic ranking. From 11 to 13 June they will have another chance in Paris at the Olympic qualifying tournament. The top 3 of each Olympic weight class takes a ticket.
Belgium may delegate 1 man and 1 woman for the cross-country mountain bike. The ticket for the women seems to be ready for Githa Michiels, with the men Jens Schuermans and Pierre De Froidmont are still eligible.
Logan Vanhuys will have the opportunity to qualify for the Games on 19 or 20 June at the Olympic qualifying tournament in Setubal (Portugal). Vanhuys finished 15th at the World Cup in 2019, while only the top 10 earned a ticket for Tokyo.
The Belgian jumping team secured qualification by winning the European Championship in 2019. The selection has not yet been made. The Belgian top 3 in the world ranking can already dream: Pieter Devos (5), Niels Bruynseels (11) and Jos Verlooy (18).
In addition, two Belgians are taking action in horse riding. Karin Donckers can prepare for her sixth Olympic Games in eventing. Belgium also sends an rider in dressage: Laurence Roos.
Just like in Rio, Belgium has 1 rowboat at the Olympic Games. Tim Brys and Niels Van Zandweghe have been certain of their place in Tokyo for a while, they qualified at the 2019 World Cup.
Jessie Kaps is the only Belgian shooter who has already won her ticket to the Olympic Games. She qualified in the 10 meter air rifle part thanks to her second place at the European Championship in Croatia. Other Belgians who still dream of Tokyo must also qualify for the European Championship.
Skateboarding is new at the Olympics and there might be 2 Belgians in Tokyo right away. In the street section, Lore Bruggeman and Axel Cruysberghs still have a chance.
They can place themselves directly on the World Cup street in Rome next week, there are 3 tickets ready for the top 3. If that doesn’t work, they have to be in the top 16 of the cleared Olympic rankings by June 30th. Cruysberghs and Bruggeman are currently 17th.
At the World Cup surfing in El Salvador next week, the last Olympic tickets (5 for men and 7 for women) are ready, but the chances are small that one of our compatriots can steal them. The Belgian talents are aiming for the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024.
Cedric Nuytinck is the only Belgian who has a chance to go to the Olympic Games as a table tennis player. The various qualifying tournaments were not a success.
There are still 8 places available via the world ranking. Nuytinck, 72nd, will then have to win some places, the last qualifying place is now taken by the number 61 in the world ranking.
In Rio, 3 Belgians took action in taekwondo, in Tokyo Jaouad Achab will have to uphold the Belgian honor on his own.
Ahab is one of the medal candidates in the up to 68 kilogram category. Ahab normally comes out in the class up to 63 kilograms, but at the Olympic Games those 2 classes are combined.
The main way of qualification is through the ATP and WTA ranking on June 14. The top 56 can go to Tokyo, with the restriction that each country can only send 4 tennis players for the singles tournament and that those players and players have competed in the Fed Cup or Davis Cup in 2019 and 2020.
Elise Mertens and David Goffin can sleep on both ears, Alison Van Uytvanck (WTA-67) can still hope. Mertens will also be able to choose a partner for the Olympic doubles tournament thanks to her place in the top 10 in the double ranking. That partner must be in the top 300, which, for example, leaves Kim Clijsters bypassed.
Among the men, Joran Vliegen and Sander Gillé also have a chance to be there. The players from the top 10 of the double ranking may choose their partner, after which 20 more double teams are selected based on their joint ranking.
The Belgian gymnasts booked their ticket for the team competition in Tokyo at the 2019 World Cup in Stuttgart. Nina Derwael is one of the Belgian medal hopes on the uneven bars and is – barring an injury – sure of her place in the selection. Which 3 gymnasts will accompany her will not be announced until later.
The Belgian Hammers won the Olympic qualifying tournament for the mixed relay in May. As a result, Belgium is allowed to send 4 triathletes (2 men and 2 women) to Tokyo. Jelle Geens, Marten Van Riel, Claire Michel and Valerie Barthelemy forced the qualification and may be selected.
Belgium is heading to the Olympic Games with 5 riders. Remco Evenepoel and Wout van Aert will take a shot at a medal in the time trial on Wednesday 28 July.
On Saturday 24 July they will also be at the start of the road race, they don’t know their 3 companions for that road race yet. For the women, Belgium starts the road race with 3, one of them can also ride the time trial.
The Belgian flag will be displayed on two sailboats in Enoshima. Emma Plasschaert follows in the footsteps of Evi Van Acker in the laser radial.
Isaura Maenhaut and Anouk Geurts are in the second sailboat. Earlier this year they captured the last European ticket in the 49er FX.
Only Louis Croenen (200 meter butterfly) and Fanny Lecluyse (100 and 200 meter breaststroke) have already met the Olympic limit. The other Belgians have until June 27 to reach the limit. In Rio there were still relay teams in the 4×100 and 4x200m freestyle, but at the European Championship the Belgian teams could not qualify.