Skating: Belgium shines again


Loena Hendrickx won a silver medal at the World Figure Skating Championships in Montpellier, France.

You have to go back a long way to find the last time a Belgian was on the podium at the World Figure Skating Championships. In fact, our last medal was 74 years ago when the pair Micheline Lannoy and Pierre Baugniet won gold. The young Belgian Loena Hendrickx from Arendonk and just 22 years old, accomplished a real feat in Montpellier this weekend.

After picking up a groin injury three weeks ago, she left Belgium without much pressure, knowing that her injuries had not allowed her to train at 100%.  But she was able to turn in an excellent performance with the help of a physiotherapist and by adapting her free programme. She started the competition very well in the short programme, surpassed only by the Japanese skater Kaori Sakamoto.  Her free programme was both technically and artistically impeccable. With 217.70 points, she followed Kaori Sakamoto on 236.09 points, while third place was taken by the American Alysa Liu, who won 211.19 points.  The absence of the Russians allowed for a more open World Championships where everyone could take their chance.

Loena Hendrickx was able to seize the opportunity, bringing happiness to her supporters and the whole of Belgium. She is gaining in confidence, which bodes well for future performances. She achieved a beautiful end to this season, as the first Belgian on the podium at the Grand Prix of Italy in Turin, 4th at the European Figure Skating Championships in Tallinn and 8th at the Olympic Games in Beijing, which saw her awarded an Olympic diploma.

Congratulations to Loena Hendrickx!