It’s 60 years since Belgium had such a large delegation. Helsinki 1952 welcomed 136 Belgian athletes. The latest additions include Eline Berings (women’s 100m hurdles) and triple jumper Svetlana Bolshakova. At the previous Olympics in Beijing, Belgium had just 96 athletes. For the London Olympics both the Belgian men’s and women’s hockey teams have qualified. The hockey teams account for 32 athletes.
The Belgian olympic committee has confirmed the names of 5 entrants for the road race in cycling. The Belgian champion Tom Boonen will lead the Belgian cycling team and enjoy a protected status as he will try to grab the olympic gold, challenging Mark Cavendish. Boonen will be supported by Stijn Vandenbergh, Philippe Gilbert, Jurgen Roelandts and Greg Van Avermaet.
The delegation also includes Kevin and Jonathan Borlée for the 400 metres. The twin brothers may have the best chance of clinching a medal. They are also competing in the 4×400 metres relay event. In tennis, Belgian fans have their hopes set on Kim Clijsters.
It has also been decided that high jumper Tia Hellebaut, the 2008 olympic champion, will carry the Belgian flag during the opening ceremony on Friday 27 July. Belgium usually has small ambitions where medals are concerned, with insiders expecting 3 to 5 podium places.