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Verkest (15) reaches top 10 in all-round final with debut “I thought: ‘Nervous is not necessary, Jutta’”

Four gymnasts can go to the Games in Tokyo for Team Belgium in three months. One ticket has already been reserved for world champion Nina Derwael, who fitted for this European Championship with a foot injury as a precaution. At that European Championship, Jutta Verkest explicitly applied for a place in the selection yesterday. She finished tenth in the all-round final, with a score of 52,132 points.

And that while she actually did not qualify for the final. With 49,598 points she was only third reserve. But during the warm-up, the Benjamin was told by the Belgians that she could still start. “My first reaction was, ‘Seriously?’ I was actually quite satisfied with my first European Championship, I certainly didn’t feel like a loser because I didn’t make it to the final. ”

Verkest, who studies science, proved that she is worth more than that 33rd place in the qualifications. She did not make an error on the beam and scored 13,500 points. On the jump (13,500 pts) she also performed better, only on the bridge (12,466 pts) and the ground (12,666 pts) her score was slightly lower than Wednesday.

I was not concerned with my points or my place. I just did my best.

Of course Verkest was delighted with that tenth place. “I was much less stressed in the final than during qualifying. Probably because I knew so late. I especially enjoyed it. I thought, ‘Don’t be nervous, Jutta. Stress is not necessary for anything. If you can also do it in training… ”I wasn’t working on my points or my place. I just did my best. ”

For Verkest, the European Championship was a great experience and learning experience, she said. “You immediately know how things go at such an EC. Like with the warm-up. If you don’t claim your spot, they won’t let you in, you know. ” She is not thinking about the Games for the time being. “Tests are still planned, on which a lot will depend. Of course would like to go to Tokyo – who wouldn’t? – but I can only do my best. ”

Van den Keybus

In the men’s category, Luka Van den Keybus finished fifteenth in the all-round final. The 24-year-old East Fleming collected 79,065 points. After five of the six rotations, Van den Keybus was still eighth, but a fall from the pommel horse probably cost him a place in the top-10.  

AFP
© AFP

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