Belgium hopes to repeat 2018 successes at European Championships in Munich
On Thursday, the second edition of the 'European Championships', a quadrennial multi-sport event that brings together existing European championships in different sports, will start in Munich, Germany. The first edition took place in Glasgow and Berlin in 2018.
The second edition of the European Championships will feature nine Olympic sports: athletics, rowing, beach volleyball, canoe-kayak, cycling, wall climbing, artistic gymnastics, table tennis and triathlon. Compared to 2018, golf and swimming have disappeared from the programme.
In the field of athletics, Belgium is once again well represented. The Belgian delegation consists of 48 individual athletes and four relay teams. This makes it the largest delegation since the 1950 European Athletics Championships in Brussels, when 50 individual athletes were selected.
In this field lies the main hope for Belgian successes. With double Olympic champion Nafissatou Thiam at the start, a Belgian medal in heptathlon would not be surprising. The Belgian Tornados, the men's 4 x 400 meters relay team, will defend their title as European champion, and won bronze during the most recent World Championships in the US.
There are several other disciplines that Belgian fans can look forward to. Hermien Peters and Lize Broekx secured a bronze medal during last week's Canoe Sprint World Championships in Canada. Koen Naert will defend his title as the European marathon champion, and Isaac Kimeli finished as the best European runner at the 10,000 metres World Championships back in July.
At the previous European Championships, Belgium earned nineteen medals (six gold, five silver and eight bronze), finishing eleventh in the medal count. Rutger Smith, top sports coordinator of the Flemish Athletics League, stated beforehand that he hopes for even more successes in Munich.
© Nafissatou 'Nafi' Thiam celebrates after winning the heptathlon competition at the 2018 European Athletics Championships in Berlin, Germany. - © BELGA PHOTO JASPER JACOBS