Today (and a bit yesterday) the annual high mass of athletics in our country is on the program with the Memorial Van Damme. The organization is presenting a field of participants to impress you. 85 World Cup, European Championship and Olympic medalists are reviewed. We list the most important ones for you.
Nafi Thiam: the big crowd puller
Who says Memorial, says Olympic, world and European champion in the heptathlon Nafi Thiam!
Looking forward to a duel in the long jump with fellow heptathlon player Noor Vidts.
Normally the leading lady of athletics would participate in the high jump, but an inflamed toe prevents that. Fortunately, a duel in the long jump offers an exciting alternative.
Nafi Thiam in action in the high jump
Multiple record attempts during hour run
Every meeting dreams of a world record. It’s no different at the Memorial. The 46th Memorial therefore starts with an hour run in which several world records will be attacked.
These record attempts are a tribute to three Belgian legends who wrote athletics history at the Heysel fifty years ago. On September 20, 1972, Gaston Roelants, Miel Puttemans and Willy Polleunis broke five world records together.
Roelants broke the hour record and the best world time in the 20 kilometers, Polleunis took the record in the 10 miles and Puttemans broke the world records in the 3 miles and 5000 metres.
The memorial has a special connection with the hour run. Two years ago, Mo Farah set a new world hour record at the Heysel and Bashir Abdi set a new world record in the 20 kilometers in the same race. Whoever makes record attempts tonight will keep the organization as a surprise.
Pole Vault Phenomenon Armand Duplantis
Speaking of world records. With the Swedish pole vault phenomenon Armand Duplantis on the entry list, you significantly increase that chance. He’s there tonight too.
“It’s one of my favorite, if not my favorite meeting,” Duplantis said beforehand. “The atmosphere in the corner, where the drummers are, is electric.”
This year, the World, European and Olympic champion broke his own outdoor world record no less than 3 times, the last time at the World Championships in Eugene. Will it also work at the Memorial this year?
He is already getting opposition from Chris Nilsen, silver at the World Cup, and our Belgian number one, Ben Broeders, with whom Mondo is good friends.
Armand – Mondo – Duplantis, pole vault world record holder
Tornados and Cheetahs at 400 meters
The Memorial is traditionally the stage where we put our successful 4x400m relay teams in the spotlight.
Almost all Belgian Tornados – bronze at the World Cup and silver at the European Championships – will start on Friday. Julien Watrin runs the 400 meter hurdles. The brothers Borlée, Alexander Doom and Jonathan Sacoor in the 400 meters.
The Belgian Cheetahs also get their moment of glory. Cynthia Bolingo, finalist at the European Championship, starts in the 400 meters. Camille Laus, Pauline Couckuyt, Helena Ponette, Imke Vervaet and Nina Hespel run in an extra added 400 meters.
Belgian Tornados, silver at the European Championship in Munich
Fraser Price vs. Jackson on the 100m
In the 100 meters we get a duel between the two fastest women of the moment: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson from Jamaica.
Fraser-Pryce took gold in the 100 meters at the last World Championship in Eugene, ahead of her compatriot Jackson. In the 200 meters the roles were reversed. Who will win this prestige duel between two generations of top sprinters in Brussels?
The European opposition comes from Dina Asher-Smith from Great Britain. The number four of the World Cup has something to make up for after a disappointing European Championship.
Fraser-Pryce wins at the World Championships in Eugene ahead of Jackson
Fireworks on the 800 meters
With the Kenyan Emmanuel Korrir, the Algerian Djamel Sedjati and the Canadian Marco Arop, the organizers tied the entire top three in the 800 meters of the last World Cup in Eugene.
Fireworks guaranteed, on this spectacular running track. Curious if our compatriot Eliott Crestan can put these world toppers to the test, supported by the home crowd.
Throwing numbers with the entire world top
The field of participants in the women’s javelin throw is of an unseen quality. All medal winners, which are six different women, from both the World Cup and the European Championship are on the competition sheet.
The main thing to look forward to is the duel between the Australian world champion Kelsey-Lee Barber and the barely 19-year-old European champion Elina Tzengko from Greece.
On Thursday evening, the Vismarkt in the heart of Brussels is the setting for the men’s shot put. Although Ryan Crouser is not there, with Kovacs and Awotunde two of the three American behemoths who dominated the World Cup are in the pitching ring.
Add to that European champion Filip Mihaljevic and the number four of the World Cup, Tom Walsh from New Zealand, and this is another match to look forward to.