Will Belgium end its 20-year dry spell?

Henders and Hazel Nations Cup

Almost two decades have passed since the Belgian showjumping team triumphed in a
Nations Cup on home soil. Not only the Belgian riders but also the Belgian fans are
hungry for a win. On Friday evening, August 25th, the moment Belgium has been
waiting for might finally arrive.”


The magic of the Nations Cup
Olivier Philippaerts is more than pleased to be part of the team this week: “I was there last
year when the Nations Cup took place in Knokke. The audience was amazing! But I expect
this week will be even more intense. We compete on Friday evening. So, it will already be
dark when the competition reaches its climax. I know our horse-loving country has been
looking forward to this for a long time. Of course, together with Le Blue Diamond van ’t
Ruytershof, I will give it my all to make our fans proud.”


Belgian top team
Olivier can count on none other than the complete bronze team from the past Olympics.
Along with him, Chef d’equipe, Peter Weinberg, selected Pieter Devos, Grégory Wathelet,
and Jérôme Guery to represent Belgium. Abdel Saïd will also be part of the team. Peter:
“Four riders will start; exactly who, will be determined on Thursday. The competition from
other countries is tough. Sweden is always strong. However, considering that the European Championship and the prestigious Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ are upcoming, …and choices had to be made,
predicting outcomes becomes challenging.”


18 years ago
Ludo Philippaerts shares this opinion. He was part of the winning national team in Lummen
almost 20 years ago. Ludo: “I was aware that a victory on home ground was a long time ago.
But to realize it’s been this long… I hadn’t imagined. The landscape of the sport has evolved
since then. There are many more major competitions on the calendar now, which is really
not easy to manage. Fortunately, we have so many top horses and riders in Belgium. We
can definitely win! 18 years ago, there was a lot of excitement around our victory. The
audience on site went wild. The sport’s popularity has only soared since then.” Nick Vrins,
who was part of the team in 2004, still vividly remembers the victory: “I was very young back
then and had just become Belgian champion with Nagano. Defending Belgian colors with the
likes of Ludo, Jos Lansink, and Philippe Lejeune was incredible. I hadn’t dared dream that
the tension during the competition and the relief afterward would be so amazing.

Follow the Henders & Hazel Nations Cup
From Wednesday 23rd to Sunday 27th August, the Brussels Stephex Masters takes place in
Wolvertem. The Nations Cup is scheduled for Friday, 25th August at 8 pm. Everyone is
welcome to come and cheer on the teams. Admission and parking are free.
Cant’ make it? You can watch the Henders & Hazel Nations Cup live on Horse & Country TV
or delayed via Belgian National Television. The Rolex Grand Prix presented by Audi, which
takes place on Sunday at 2 pm, will be broadcasted live on Belgian National Television
(Sporza).

Katrien Van Miert

Katrien Van Miert

Author

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