In the run up to the Olympic Games, each week we'll be presenting the athletes who will have the privilege of competing for Belgium in Paris between 26 July and 11 August 2024. We will present them discipline by discipline... Today we shine the spotlight on Hannes Van Duysen in climbing and Neisser Loyola in epee!

Sport climbing as a competitive sport was first practised in 1985 in Bardonecchia, Italy, near Turin, at an event called "SportRoccia", the first lead competition ever organised. A year later, the first sporting event to be held on an artificial wall took place in Vaulx-en-Velin, near Lyon.

The Olympic sport climbing programme includes three disciplines: bouldering, speed and lead. "Bouldering" involves climbing 4.5m-high structures, without ropes but with landing mats, in a limited time and with as few attempts as possible.

The speed event is a spectacular race against the clock in one-on-one elimination duels, combining precision and explosiveness. The best athletes climb a 15-metre, 5-degree inclined wall in under six seconds for men and under seven seconds for women.

Finally, the lead test requires athletes to climb as high as possible on a 15m wall, in six minutes, and without knowing the route in advance. "Lead" climbing routes become increasingly complex and demanding as the competition progresses, requiring all the athletes' physical and mental capacities.

Hannes Van Duysen: born in Ghent on 4 September 2004, he became world junior champion (U20) in Seoul, South Korea, in 2023.  The same year, he scored his first pro success, winning silver at the World Cup in Hachioji, Japan.

In 2024, Van Duysen got off to a strong start with a third-place finish at the first World Cup competition of the season in Keqiao, China.


Fencing has its origins in sword fighting, which dates back several millennia, with depictions of sword fighters dating from 1190 BC. Later, fencing, which initially represented military training, became a sport under the impetus of French, Italian and German fencing masters. Today, fencing is a global sport.

In fencing, two opponents face each other, weapon in hand, and must touch their opponent with their weapon in a given area. Each weapon has its own specific features. The sabre allows a competitor to strike their opponent with all parts of the blade (tip, cutting edge and back). The valid surface area comprises the upper body from the waist up, including arms and head. The epee and foil only allow points to be scored with the point, but on the whole body (including mask and shoes) for epee, and only on the trunk (chest, shoulders and neck) for foil. The fencer who scores 15 points, or who has the most points at the end of the regulation time, wins the bout.

Neisser Loyola with epee: this Belgian fencer of Cuban origin was born on 28 July 1998 in Cienfuegos. He is an epee fencer who achieved his first major results in international competitions in 2022 with 6th place at the European Championships and a bronze medal at the World Championships.