Gold and silver for Flemish gymnast at European Championships
Nina Derwael led the Belgian women to three medals at the Artistic Gymnastics European Championship at the weekend
Strategy ‘paid off’
With Axelle Klinckaert’s bronze medal in floor exercise, the Belgian women’s team ultimately won three medals, tying with France and Russia for the most medals won at the event.
Derwael, from Sint-Truiden, made history twice last year when she became the first Belgian to win gold at the European Championships and the first Belgian woman to medal at the World Championships. It was also the first medal won by any Belgian at the world level in more than 100 years.
The 18-year-old gymnast scored 14.7 for the uneven bars, with Sweden’s Jonna Adlerteg earning silver at 14.5. She then went on to win silver in the beam, with 13.6, behind Dutch gymnast Sanne Wevers’ 13.9.
More competition this week
Derwael said that she “honestly had not expected” to win two medals at the championships. “I am super happy.”
While she was a favourite to medal on the uneven bars, the balance beam was less sure. “I played it safe,” she said. “In practice sessions, one of the transitions wasn’t going well. We scrapped it for the final, which gave me more confidence. That paid off.”
The men’s gymnastics competition takes place next weekend. Belgium has five competitors on the men’s team.
The summer sports European Championships also includes athletics, cycling, swimming and other events. Jolien D’Hoore won bronze in the 10k scratch track cycling event last Friday, while Kenny De Ketele won silver in the 40k points race.
Photo: Nina Derwael’s difficult elements on the uneven bars make her a favourite in the event at European and world level