On May 30-31, 2015, the 1st ever Flanders International Team Challenge will be held. Following the success of the 2013 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, held in Antwerp, the Belgian Gymnastics Federation have decided that it’s time for a brand new Belgian event!
Thus, the Flanders International Team Challenge was born! This inaugural event will be held at the Flanders Sports Arena, in Ghent, which played host to the 2001 World Artistic Championships and has also held the Ghent FIG World Challenger Cup events.
Timings are only of the start times, Session lengths TBA
Saturday, May 30, 2015
09:00 CEST (08:00 GMT, 03:00 EST) – Juniors Qualification
15:30 CEST (14:30 GMT, 09:30 EST) – Seniors Qualification
Sunday, May 31, 2015
10:00 CEST (09:00 GMT, 04:00 EST) – Youth Competition
15:00 CEST (14:00 GMT, 09:00 EST) – Finals Juniors/Seniors
There has been no official release of a nominative roster yet but we do know the countries that are participating and it’s very exciting! This star-studded line-up will feature countries from Europe, Asia and Oceania!
- New Zealand
Belgium’s senior delegation has already been announced. It consists of; Laura Waem, Julie Croket, Gaelle Mys, Cindy Vandenhole, Lisa Verschueren, Dorien Motten and Rune Hermans
Ireland’s delegations have also been released. It’s comprised of: Ellis O’Reilly, Nicole Mawhinney, Tara Donnelly, Denise Moloney and Taylor Coyle.
What should we expect?
Well, this is a relatively small scale competition so I doubt we’ll see HUGE gymnastics but it will certain be a tough competition and will feature some great gymnasts. This competition clashes with a quad meet against Italy-Russia-Romania-Colombia, held in Turin, as well as the Russian Youth Nationals and Canadian Nationals. Italy are sending a junior team because they have a lot of talented juniors that will want this experience but obviously decided against a senior team! Russia are absent because they will be at the quad meet and they’re hosting the Youth Nationals. I’m not sure if Canada would’ve sent a delegation to this event had they not had their Nationals at this time but either way, they will not be attending.
For the countries that are actually attending, Great Britain will most likely headline. They have a lot of depth in both age divisions and will be likely to medal. The Netherlands will be close to home and they have a growing squad of talented gymnasts, don’t count them out! Belgium will have a home advantage and have veterans such as Gaelle Mys and Lisa Verschueren to give them the edge on others. France have a very dynamic program and did so well at their home Europeans a few weeks back. They will certainly be hungry! I anticipate a very strong performance from the German team also. They had no medals from Euros and will have the drive to get a medal here. The Germans have a very deep junior team so we could see anyone on the starting roster for them. Sweden’s roster has a huge gap after the injury to Jonna Adlerteg at Euros but they have Marcela Torres, who really had a breakthrough at Euros! Their junior side will no doubt feature the Haavisto twins, Emmy and Ellen, who are certainly being groomed for Rio 2016 next year. Spain doesn’t have the depth that they’ve had in years gone by but individually, they have Ana Perez Campos in the senior division. Australia have looked limited also. Their program isn’t massive and they don’t have the luxury of being selective with their lineups. New Zealand are looking poised and sharp, especially on vault and floor. One of their seasoned seniors, Courtney McGregor, will certainly challenge.
How to follow the event
There has been no announcement of a live stream feed, as of yet. Should a feed link be publicised, we shall update you!
An article by James Greaves, editor-in-chief