Belgium’s bobsleigh and skeleton federation has selected nine athletes for the national male and female bobsleigh teams on Wednesday, following a day of tests in Louvain, federation CEO Geert Vanvaerenbergh told Belga news agency. The best-known name is arguably that of multiple national hurdles champion Damien Broothaerts, ready at the age of 36 to write a new chapter in his sporting career. The four other members of the men’s team are brothers Niels and Klaas Huwel, Niels Mertens and Wout Verhoeven. The federation will begin next season with a two-man bob team in the men’s event, which could evolve later into a four-man team.
Four female athletes have also been selected: Sara Aerts, Loes Hubrecht, Dora De Haseleer and Katrien De Neve.
The previous years’ Belgian Bullets were also required to pass this year’s tests, which is why pilot An Vannieuwenhuyse, number one last season, was not selected for the women’s final four. She is in the second category – athletes on whom the federation still needs to deliberate. They will have a second chance but will be tested every month to assess the evolution of their performance. Kelly Van Petegem is also in this second tier.
“We let them take part in this assessment so that they can call themselves into question,” the federation explained. “Where An Vannieuwenhuyse is concerned, you could say she did not have a happy season. We are waiting for a clear signal from her in the coming months.”
About 30 athletes were present in Louvain on Wednesday, 20 of them male.
Under the watchful eye of Vanvaerenbergh and Rudy Diels, they did a test sprint on 60 metres followed by a sprint exercise with weights to imitate the start. Finally, they performed a standing high jump, a good measure of the spring in an athlete’s legs.