Flemish gymnast makes history with first gold medal at World Championships
Belgium has brought home its first-ever gold medal from the World Gymnastics Championships, as Nina Derwael continues her impeccable performance on the uneven bars
Nina Derwael has made history as the first-ever Belgian gymnast to win a gold medal at the World Gymnastics Championships, which took place in Doha, Qatar, finishing on Saturday. Derwael brought home the medal for the uneven bars, following up on her gold-medal performance at the European Championship last August.
With 15.2 points, Derwael, from Sint-Truiden, was way ahead of her competitors. American sensation Simone Biles won silver in the event with a score of 14.7. Derwael also medalled in the uneven bars at last year’s World Championships, bringing home bronze.
Derwael, 18, came in fourth in her other strong event, balance beam, edged out by Biles, who took home the bronze. Derwael had earned silver in the event at the European Championships.
Her overall performance – with the uneven bars one of the highest single scores at the championships – was enough to put Derwael in fourth place all-around, up from eighth last year.
Watch Nina Derwael’s gold medal-winning performance
She faced a hero’s welcome at Brussels Airport yesterday. “This is unbelievable,” she told reporters on the scene. “It’s really special to arrive here and see so many people. It’s so wonderful to see so many friends, family and supporters. Right now, I haven’t fully grasped that I’ve acquired a new status. That will probably hit me in the coming days.”
Derwael is in boarding school in Ghent, where the region’s top gymnasts train. She trains about six hours a day and, besides next year’s European and World championships, is looking towards the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.
Photo: Flemish gymnast Nina Derwael, flanked by silver medallist Simone Biles of the US (left) and bronze medal winner Elisabeth Seitz of Germany