THE BELGIAN WOMEN GO TO THE OLYMPICS
A DREAM COMES TRUE: 4 YEARS AFTER THE DECEPTION IN KAZAN THE BELGIAN NATIONAL TEAM EASELY WINS THE FINAL OF THE ROAD TO LONDON PREOLYMPIC TOURNAMENT
The Belgian women have meritoriously booked their place for the 2012 Olympics after a straight 4-1 victory against Ireland in the final leg of the FIH Road to London competition. The ambitious objective of becoming the first Belgian team ever to participate in the Olympic Games has been achieved with a very impressive and exceptional goal average of 26 goals made against 2 goals conceded !!!
Among the strong points of the team –beside the excellence of coach Pascal Kina- I would like to mention particularly:
1. the literally impassable defense with Nadine Khouzam as a gifted Goalkeeper;
2. Sofie Gierts, simply the best player of the tournament with a special mention to her 3 splendid strikes in the final game
2. formidable forwards , particularly Jill Boon (6 spectacular goals), equal to her brother Tom as top scorer, exploiting any opportunity to crucify the opposite goalie;
3. last but not least and this last point is for me a dream coming true: the Belgian women hockey has at last found with Stephanie Degroof a senior player who can convert most of the PCs she is offered to shoot (6 PC scored).. Have we found our lady Taeke Taekema ?!
THE FIH MATCH REPORT
Final: Belgium 4, Ireland 1
Belgium became the 11th women’s team to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics after powering past Ireland,4-1, in the Athlon Car Lease FIH Road to London tournament in Antwerp.
In front of a capacity crowd, Sofie Gierts had the game of her life and it came at just the right time as her three goals paced Belgium to the win and sent her team to London. Gierts completed a hat trick in a seven-minute span in the first half put the Irish on their heels with a 3-0 deficit.
Gierts banged in the 1-0 goal in the 12th minute with a solid strike, brining the tense crowd to its feet. Her second goal came on a penalty stroke that she easily looped in, and the 3-0 marker was a textbook penalty corner. It was an emphatic string of offense that gave Belgium an edge that they hungon to the rest of the match
Ireland had its chances in the game and competed well, but they never really threatened the Belgians, who were simply playing on a different level. Ireland’s lone goal of the game came on a penalty corner from Audrey O’Flynn with 15 minutes left on the clock, but Belgium had an answer to that less than a minute later to reinstate the three-goal lead.In the end, all Ireland could do was watch as time ran out on their Olympic dream.For Irish fans today’s loss was doubly hard to take after the men also lost in the final of the Road to London tournament exactly one week ago.
On the other side on the coin, Belgium hockey supporters can celebrate an incredible double representation in London. The Belgium men’s team qualified for the Games at the European Championships and now the women will join them in London in July. The 16th-ranked Belgians came into the event as the third seeded team and become the first non-top seed to win an Olympic Qualification tournament.
As icing on the cake for Belgium, Gierts was voted the Top Player of the tournament. Ireland’s O’Flynn was given the Top Goal Scorer award, while Mexican goalkeeper Ahidee Castillo was got the nod as the Top Goalkeeper. Amazingly enough, Castillo split her time playing out of net and in and was also her team’s top goal scorer.
Mais alors se pose désormais la question existentielle: vu les magnifiques résultats de nos dames, non seulement à Kontich mais aussi au récent tournoi européen de hockey en salle, et le nouveau regard de la presse vis-à-vis de notre hockey féminin (n’est-ce pas Laurent ;-), faut-il encore promouvoir le hockey féminin en Belgique ? Gezien de prachtige resultaten van onze dames, niet alleen in Kontich -ik denk ook aan de gewonnen finale in het Europese indoor tornooi, stelt zich de vraag of het nog nodig is onze vrouwenhockey te promoten?