June 9, 2015Only 3 days until the Opening Ceremony! UEG had a chat with the talented women’s acrobatics group from Belgium!
Julie, Kaat and Ineke are competing together for the second season. In their first season they won bronze at the World Championships, an incredible feat. After taking gold at the World Cup event in Varna (BUL), they established themselves as one of the favorites for the 1st European Games
UEG: Recently you participated in the final of Belgium’s Got Talent. How was that experience?
Kaat, Julie and Ineke: We are very happy to have participated in Belgium's Got Talent! It was a special experience to be able to have a look behind the scenes of the world of television. Our aim was to promote our sport and we succeeded in that. Of course it’s a shame we didn’t make the top three but we weren’t very disappointed. We reached the final, we participated in every phase of the show so we were already thrilled by that. Because of our participation we received tons of nice and supportive messages (both from within and outside the gymnastics community). Also, loads of supporters showed up for the live shows. That makes standing on that podium really emotional. The stress was completely different than competitions. Now we had to mainly put on a show and there was less focus on all the technical details. Standing on such a stage and performing for a crowd, we’d love to do that every day!
UEG: What are your expectations for the European Games?
Kaat, Julie and Ineke: Recently we participated in the World Cup in Varna (BUL) where we took home the gold medal. Several teams participating in the European Games were there as well so that gave us confidence. We’d love to medal in every exercise (dynamic, balance and combined) and if nothing goes wrong this should be attainable. A gold medal is our big dream. But first of all we will of course just enjoy it!
UEG: How would you explain acrobatic gymnastics to spectators?
Kaat, Julie and Ineke: Acrobatic gymnastics is quite an unknown sport. We get the question ‘What is it?’ a lot. In short: acro is a team sport for 2 till 4 people. There are 3 kinds of of exercises: balance, dynamic and combined. The last one is a mix of the first two. In the balance exercise you have to build pyramids with different kinds of handstands. In the dynamic exercise you have to execute different somersaults.
UEG: What is your favorite memory in gymnastics? What do you still want to achieve in gymnastics?
Kaat: My favorite memory is the World Championships last year in Levallois (FRA). That was my first big competition and we had only been together for a year. Sometimes it was a bit overwhelming since everything went so fast but it was fantastic to experience. At these Worlds we won bronze in the all-around and we also ended third with the Belgian team.
Julie: For me I have fond memories of the 2009 World Games. These are the ‘Olympic Games’ for non-Olympic sports like acrobatic gymnastics. At that time I was the top in a Mixed pair, Menno Vanderghote being my partner. The organisation really impressed me. The competition went well and we finished second.
Ineke: Because I always participate in a competition with the aim to win, the World Cup in Varna is my new favorite memory. We were the only Belgians in this competition and to hear our national anthem … That was an incredibly happy feeling. In our gymnastics career we focus on one competition after the other. Now we would really love to take 3 medals home from these European Games, preferably gold … :D
UEG: What’s the difference for you between a multi-sports event like these Games and a normal European Championships?
Kaat, Ineke and Julie: The European Championships are at the beginning of October 2015. But these Games are very different. It feels a lot bigger and more important, because of the media, the amount of athletes in the different sports, the Olympic Village etc. Hopefully these Games will help our sport become Olympic. I think that people who don’t know acrobatic gymnastics will find it spectacular. It’s a shame that only women’s groups and mixed pairs can participate, there are enough competitors here. The other categories: women’s pair, men’s pair and men’s group, are also impressive!
UEG: Who / what should the spectators definitely see?
Kaat, Ineke and Julie: Spectators should definitely watch our teammates Solano Cassamajor and Yana Vastavel. They compete as a mixed pair and also have medal chances. Especially in artistry they stand out. In the same category also watch out for the Russian mixed pair. The elements they execute are of the highest level.
UEG: Which other sport would you like to see in Baku?
Kaat, Ineke and Julie: We had a look at the list of other participating sports. It’s very difficult to pick 1 sport we’d like to see. Boxing seems great to go and watch. And diving and synchronised swimming we’d love to see. And of course Artistic Gymnastics as we know the Belgians very well and we follow this sport in any case.
Bedankt Kaat, Ineke en Julie! Best of luck in Baku!