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Home >> Sports
UPDATED: 09:28, February 10, 2006
Four Belgians to compete at Turin Winter Olympics
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Four Belgians will be competing at the Turin Winter Olympics, with one of them hopeful of winning a medal, Belgian Flemish broadcaster VRT reported Thursday.

Belgium has no tradition where winter sports are concerned, which is reflected in the modest delegation: Pieter Gysel and Wim De Deyne as short trackers; Kevin Van der Perren in figure skating and Bart Veldkamp in speed skating.

However, all four of them are expected to do well, since the Belgian Olympic Committee (BOIC) opted for quality instead of quantity, said the VRT.

Renno Roelandt of the BOIC, who is heading the Belgian delegation, expects three top eight places.

Van der Perren will be carrying the Belgian flag at the opening ceremony on Friday night and comes into action on Tuesday.

"He eyes a top 10 spot. If everything works out, even the top six might be possible." his coach Vera Vandecaveye told VRT radio. "He has had some minor back problems, but he is at his best now."

The 23-year-old finished seventh at the European Championships.

Short track speed skater Pieter Gysel looks to have the best cards to get hold of an Olympic medal.

At the European Championships, the 25-year-old managed two silver medals in 500m and 1,500m respectively and one bronze in the allround competition.

Gysel said he's able to resist the pressure at important competitions and hopes to make it to the final.

He has already been staying two weeks in Turin. "I've got used to the ice in Turin and I have no physical worries. Let the games begin!" Gysel told reporters. He gets three chances, in the 500m, 1,000m and 1,500m.

Wim De Deyne wants to avoid making the same mistake as four years ago, at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

The 28-year-old was reaching out for a ticket to the final, before making a costly mistake. "I finished 7th and was out. It won't happen again."

The fourth Belgian to participate, 38-year-old Bart Veldkamp, applied for a Belgian passport just some years ago because of the stiff competition in the Netherlands, where he was born.

Veldkamp only just qualified for the Winter Games and will take part in the 5,000m speed skating.

"I won't disappoint my fans, I promise." Veldkamp said. "I'm feeling fresh and I'm eager to start. The top five should be possible."

Source: Xinhua


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