Belgium’s bobsled and skeleton federation is organising trials on Wednesday 24 April at the Catholic University of Leuven (KULeuven) for prospective members of the Belgian Bullets team, federation CEO Geert Vanvaerenbergh told Belga news agency on Monday. Bullets star Elfje Willemsen retired at the end of last year and the federation is “constantly on the lookout for new talent,” Vanvaerenbergh said. With Willemsen gone, “we now only have An Vannieuwenhuyse as pilot,” he explained. “We shall also try out Loes Hubrecht and Kelly Van Petegem as pilots, but we’re also short of brakers.”
The federation plans to launch a two-man bobsled team for the males, which could be upped to a four-man one.
The death of late bobsled star Marc Sluszny marked the end of a project, the federation CEO said. “The athletes we are now looking for must be fast, powerful and explosive, and come preferably from the athletics world,” he explained, “at the end of the selection, we hope to keep about 10 athletes and then we’ll see about the possibilities for contracts. We want to see two or three women’s teams and one for the men. The new teams will begin at the Europa Cup before possibly moving on to World Cup level.”
The trials will be organised under the leadership of Rudi Diels, bobsled coach Tom de la Hunty, skeleton coach Mattias Guggenberger and technical coach Olaf Hampl.
A new slope in Belgium is also on the cards.
“We’re expecting it by summer 2020,” said Vanvaerenbergh. “In the meantime, we continue to go to Winterberg (Germany) and Sigulda (Latvia). We are negotiating with Herentals and Oordegem. This new slope will have the same declination as that of the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.”