Gymnast makes history with bronze at world championships


Nina Derwael of Limburg has become the first Belgian in more than 100 years to medal at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships

Podium for uneven bars

Nina Derwael of Sint-Truiden won bronze in the uneven bars at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Montréal at the weekend. It was the first medal ever won by a Belgian woman at the world level of gymnastics and the first for any Belgian in more than 100 years.

Derwael, 17, and teammate Rune Hermans were in fact the first Belgian women to ever make it to the finals of the world championships. Derwael had the best overall score ever achieved for a Belgian, coming in eighth overall. Hermans came in 11th.

Derwael’s medal was not an upset; she won gold in the uneven bars at the European Artistic Gymnastics Championships earlier this year in Romania, where she placed fourth overall. It was the first gold for a Belgian at the European Championships.

Her score in Romania was her personal best – 14,633 – which she bettered in Montréal, with 15,033. “I always dreamed of having a world championship medal, and now that I’m here, it’s all so surreal,” Derwael told International Gymnast, adding that she was considering a change in her floor routine for 2018.

Events in women’s artistic gymnastics include the uneven bars, the vault, the balance beam and floor exercise.

Photo: Nina Derwaele performs her bronze-winning routine on the uneven bars in Montréal
(c)Daniel Lea/Newscom/BELGA