When Flemish sports minister Ben Weyts (N-VA) appears at the Olympic stage, it is usually to proclaim good news. And today he also showed up in Belek with extra resources: the Flemish government increased the budget for top sport from 28 to 30 million euros per year.
LOOK. Weyts: “Catching up internationally
The gap with the other part of the country becomes even wider: while the French-speaking side continues to spend 14.5 million on an annual basis – the same as the year before – the budget in Flanders for top sport has already risen to 30 million euros. An increase of 7 million euros, or 30 percent, since Flemish Minister Ben Weyts (N-VA) became responsible for sports.
With the investment of another 2 million euros, Weyts now mainly wants to support more top athletes, while last year the emphasis was more on support. In 2019, 75 could count on financial help, in 2023 there were already 111 and in 2024 there should be 130. 2.7 million went to the wages of 70 elite athletes contracted to Sport Vlaanderen. In return, he asks for their social commitment in campaigns to encourage young people to participate in sports and exercise.
According to Weyts, more attention should also be paid to the detection and development of young talent: “Flanders is the driving force behind top sports successes and we have succeeded because we make clear choices and invest heavily.”
In Belek, the sports minister also returned to the fuss at the Gymfed. Weyts reiterated that the decision to fire French head coaches Marjorie Heuls and Yves Kieffer was defensible, but that they failed in their communication. “That’s what you get when you listen too much to lawyers because they never allow you to say anything,” said Weyts, who also explained that the relationship between the two trainers and Gymfed was irreparably damaged after they demanded another year contractually. after Paris, while they had already been told that it would be done after the Games.
The climate on the gymnastics floor was also no longer optimal due to new conflicts, according to Weyts. This was not about psychologically transgressive behavior, for which Heuls and Kieffer were previously reprimanded, but the fact that all current gymnasts stood behind the trainers as one man – as was suggested in an open letter – that does not seem to be true.
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