Willamette World News

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Sports in Belgium

The king of sports in Belgium, like everywhere else in Europe I guess, is football… Sorry, I meant soccer!
Soccer is really big and the national championship is followed throughout the country by hundreds of thousands people. Unfortunately, our national team, the Red Devils, haven’t been doing really well in the recent year. Therefore, the period during which we could compete with the best teams in the world (yes, we did have one of the best teams in the world in the late 80’s-early 90’s) is now only a distant memory that evokes a lot of nostalgia for most supporters (me included). But, with a very promising generation of young players there is a new hope that we might do well again soon!

Ok, I know what you’re going to say: if Belgium can only brag about ‘the hope that they’re going to do well soon’ then that’s a bit sad. Well, no! Although soccer is the main sport in Belgium, we also compete in other things in which we are pretty successful. Tennis is one of them: with players such as Justine Henin, Kim Clijsters and Yanina Wickmayer, Belgium certainly has the strongest national team in the world and has good chances of winning the Fed Cup (which we already did in 2001). Both Henin and Clijsters are former number 1’s at the WTA ranking and their recent come back has been extremely successful so far.
Belgium also has a long tradition of cycling. Cycling champion (Eddy Merckx is considered to be the greatest cycler of all times) and with people such as Tom Boonen or Philippe Gilbert, we still have really strong cyclers. If you like motocross, check out Stefan Everts who won world champion ten times. Or if you’re more of a high jump fan, you’ve certainly heard about Tia Hellebaut, who won the gold medal during the last Olympics in Beijing. Finally, I cannot forget to mention billiards, a discipline that has been dominated by the Belgians for quite a number of years now!
In any case, Belgium is a small country and we might not be extremely famous for our sports skills, but we do love sports and have some amazing people who make us really proud!

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