Monday, 23 April 2012

Jonas Saelens and Lize Broekx, Belgian Champions on 5.000 metres

Christoph Bittner, Belgium

The first big race weekend in Belgium is a fact. The season started with the Belgian Nationals 5000m at the channel Kortrijk-Bossuit at the Harelbeekse Kanovereniging nearby Kortrijk. About more than 100 athletes showed up to fight for the title. The big guns like Laurens Pannecoucke, Wouter D’Haene and Olivier Cauwenberghs were not present because they had to follow their own training schedule which didn’t allow them to do a 5 km race. Even the Be-Gold team (Jonas Saelens, Toon Broekx, Lize Broekx, Wiliam Peters, Jonathan Delombaerde…) were allowed to do just one race over the whole weekend. The starting list lost a bit of his glamour but the sub top could show their skills this weekend.

Be-Gold team member Jonas Saelens started as the favorite in the K1 5000m. Other big favorites were Tuur Bettens (KSKZ), Senne Versmissen (TKC) and Vincent Naert (KSKZ). Over 40 seniors tried their luck to win a medal. During the first 200m Jonas Saelens took the lead together with a group of ten. The sprint for the first turn between Saelens, Bettens and Naert ended in a small tragedy for KSKZ.
Bettens took his turn to sharp and missed the buoy. Naert, who was following him, missed it too and so they had to retake their turn with Jonas Saelens sprinting away. After a solo of 3,5 km Saelens finished first. Second place was for Senne Versmissen and third place for Dries Corryn from Ghent.

The K2 race was overruled by KSKZ. From the 9 boats, 4 of them were from the KSKZ. Neerpelt, Ghent, Kortrijk and the G&A team. After a fast start 3 boats were leading the race: KSKZ (Tom Cremers, Vincent Naert), NWC (Brecht Stalmans, Thomas Beeke) and another boat from KSKZ (Günther Wolfvelde, Tuur Bettens). After the first turn Cremers and Naert shook off the two boats and went for it on their own. Still, there was a battle for the silver medal. After the 4 km solo Naert and Cremers finished with a gap between the second boat which was Stalmans/Beeke. Third place was for Wolfvelde/Bettens.

In the senior race of the ladies Lize Broekx (NWC) was the favorite to win the gold medal and she fulfilled that role. After a good start she pulled away for a solo of 5km. Second place was for Delphine Vandevenne (KSKZ). The bronze medal was for Loes Driesen (KKK).

The weekend ended with the K4 Men. All the categories, aspirants till veterans, started together for a 5000 m with just one turn to take. After a fast start two boats were leading the race. The senior boat of Neerpelt (Broekx, Broekx, Weckx, Peters) and the first senior boat of Zwevegem (Naert, Cremers, Planckaert, Bettens) were in the leading position. The K4 of neerpelt had some trouble, caused by a branch in their rudder so KSKZ took their chances and took off. The Neerpelt boat caught up with them and took over in the last 400m. The sprint was won by Neerpelt. A spectacular K4 race closed the weekend and a well-earned gold medal for the Neerpelt K4.

You may check the full results at this link. Next Belgian sprint meeting will be the international regatta in Ghent. 

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