On Saturday 1 April 2023 (the weekend before Easter), the International Belgian Open and the Eupen Pokal took place in the East Belgian city of Eupen. More than 150 gymnasts from Austria, Belgium, Germany, Israel, Luxemburg, Norway, Switzerland and Ukraine took part in the competition weekend.
The competition was divided into the International Belgian Open on Saturday, and the Eupen Pokal on Sunday.
The International Belgian Open is an IRV Certified competition (LINK), which makes it an all-around competition at the highest international Level. Around 50 gymnasts took part in the categories Senior, Junior (up to 18 years), Youth A (up to 14 years) and Youth B (easy access all-around competition). The field of participants was top class with several world champions and world championship medallists.
The Senior Competition was won by Malena Kernacs (total score 27.15) from Austria in front of her teammate Birgit Halwachs (26.40). Johannes Stolper (25.20) from Germany took the bronze medal.
The Junior Competition was won by Ella Köhler (total score 28.10) from Germany in front of her compatriot Mia Schmidt (25.55). Uri Porat (25.25) from Israel took the bronze medal. Porat performed a double twisting somersault in the vault competition, the first time ever that a double twist was performed in the junior category of an international competition.
The Youth A competition was won by 10-year-old Maria Kaas (total score 23.80) from Belgium in front of Roni Schusheim (22.10) from Israel and Elea Peter (21.65) from Switzerland. The easy access all-around competition in the Youth B category was won by Gali Yosef (total score 17.85) from Israel in front of Wilhelm Uffelmann (17.45) from Belgium and Shani Avishur (16.95) from Israel.
On Sunday, it was time for the Eupen Pokal, a competition that addresses gymnasts of all levels: beginners, recreational gymnasts and competitive gymnasts. More than 100 gymnasts took part in the Sunday competition.
The next edition of the International Belgian Open will again take place on the weekend before Easter, with the International Belgian Open scheduled for Saturday 23rd March 2024 and the Eupen Pokal on Sunday 24th March 2024.
The wheel gymnastics community in Belgium is growing. The number of wheel gymnastics clubs in Belgium has multiplied by 4 in the last 10 years and preparations are ongoing to open more new clubs. Belgium is a Bronze Member of the IRV.The Austrian Open 2022 in Salzburg marked a new milestone in Austrian Wheel Gymnastics history. 81 competitors from seven IRV member countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, Norway and The Netherlands) and 12 different clubs competed in Salzburg on 26 November 2022.
[Report by Achim Pitz]
IRV Vice President Maria Sollohub was present at the event and added her own words of praise and thanks:
“This was my first visit to the Belgian Open and it was a pleasure to feel the atmosphere of joy for the sport, international friendship, respect and enthusiasm for competition among the athletes, coaches and judges. Thank you to Eupen for hosting an extremely successful first IRV Certified Competition.”