World Games: an excellent medal haul for Belgium


Belgian athletes won 20 medals, 11 of them gold, in non-Olympic disciplines such as squash, acrobatic gymnastics, Ju-Jitsu, rollerblading, duathlon and climbing.

This year's World Games took place in Birmingham, Alabama (United States). Held every four years since 1981, the competition includes 58 disciplines in 34 non-Olympic sports, and brings together 4,500 athletes from 100 countries.

In squash, Tinne Gilis won the gold medal. In the final, the 24-year-old from the Campine won 3 sets to 0 against British player Lucy Beecroft.

In Ju-Jitsu (a martial art that includes fighting techniques developed by samurais), Licaï Pourtois won the gold medal in the under 57 kg category. The 25-year-old osteopathy student from Binche (Hainaut province) is also a three-time world champion in her category.

In Ju-Jitsu Newaza (Brazilian variant), Florian Bayili won gold in the under 69 kg category. The 26-year-old from Brussels drew 0-0 in the final with Emirati Mohamed Alsuwaidi but was declared the winner by advantages.

Nicolas Collin reached the top step of the podium in bouldering. Although he was sixth and last to qualify for the final, the 24-year-old from Brussels managed to beat the Japanese world champion Kokoro Fujii by a small margin.

In acrobatic gymnastics, Kim Bergmans, Lise De Meyst and Bo Hollebosch won Belgium the gold medal in the team competition (trio). With a score of 29.970, the Belgians finished ahead of Portugal (29.150) and Ukraine (28.600).

Helena Heijens and Bram Röttger won the gold medal ahead of the German and Israeli pairs. The pair had already won three times (combined, static and dynamic) at the last World Championships in Baku in March.

In the duathlon, 30-year-old Maurine Ricour won the gold medal by completing the race's 10 km run, 40 km bike ride and 5 km run in 2.01:38.

In rollerblading, Bart Swings, our Olympic speed skating champion, won four gold medals.

With its 11 gold medals (20 in total), Belgium finished seventh in the country ranking for these World Games!