Olav Spahl has now been working as delegation leader of Team Belgium for 5 years and is also present at the large Olympic stage in Belek to support his athletes.
“You can feel that the athletes are looking forward to it. What is new this year and clearly noticeable is that everyone in the team who has already experienced the Games is trying to radiate that positive experience and pass it on to the athletes. next generation.”
“I have seen a major evolution since my arrival. Also in the longer term, regardless of periods of government. We have taken steps in terms of framework: a psychologist, nutritionist and physiologist have been added,” Spahl explains the improvements he has made.
“We are clear about what we call a “high performance culture” within Team Belgium and also want the athletes to radiate this. Our job is to serve the athletes who want to come and push them to the next level in Paris.”
What is also new for Belgium is that there will be several medal opportunities in major team sports next summer.
Both men and women are hoping for a medal in hockey and the Belgian Cats have also been given a new status after their European title.
Although Spahl does not want to put pressure on his teams: “It is not even a must for the Belgian Cats and the hockey teams to reach the Games, the most important thing is that they have the desire to perform. And I am confident that that will be the case with three shifts is like that.”
“We have spoken to the Cats about the journey to Paris. They are absolutely looking forward to it, they are already looking forward to the qualifying tournament in Antwerp. The same goes for the hockey teams.”
“The chances of qualifying are good for the teams. If they perform at the same level as they all did this summer, that will be fine.”
However, it has not all been roses and moonshine at Team Belgium in recent months. In several sports there was trouble with coaches who left their athletes for various reasons.
According to Spahl, there have never been any major problems: “During all the commotion surrounding coaches, we were in close consultation with the federations. In any case, we were informed about the situation and the decisions taken. It is important for us to move quickly. switch to a constructive attitude and help the athletes as best as possible.”
“We have succeeded in finding at least equally good replacements in all sports in which changes were necessary. We see that Team Belgium is attractive to top-level coaches,” he said proudly.
“In no case was it a big problem to bring in someone at the top level, and they don’t always have to be foreigners. We have enough talent in Belgium.”
Talent in abundance, according to the delegation leader, and now he must help ensure that it comes to fruition in Paris.