January 3, 2009

Quick Update on the Belgian Crisis

We are still waiting for "official" news on the Belgian crisis. The Belgian media are keeping curiously mum on the situation. However, we did find this little nugget on Gymnet, courtesy of an anonymous Belgian poster. We don't know who the author of the post is, nor have we made any effort to find out (we are not investigative journalists; we merely report on the things we come across), but judging from the tone of the post, he/she is firmly in the Kieffer camp. The post confirms the names of some of the girls who are rebelling against the federation, and of some who are not. Here it is:

"I can confirm from a source 100 percent certain that Yves Kieffer and his wife did indeed sign up with Gymfed at the end of December, having previously turned down an initial proposition in early December. They finally accepted the job offer after two Ghent coaches (Sofie Naert and René Poutsma), who had gone on strike and encouraged the girls' parents to rebel after Gerrit was fired, were fired themselves. It seems that those two coaches were also the source of the incendiary articles on Yves published by the Belgian media, and that they categorically refused to work under him. They continued to demand Gerrit's return!

Now that they have been gotten rid of, the situation has become much more constructive and acceptable for Yves and his wife. They met the parents and the gymnasts on December 30th to evaluate the situation. Some gymnasts didn't show up (Marieke Herteleer, Renate Masschelin and Aagje obviously), but others were very optimistic, e.g. Gaelle Mys (all-around finalist at the 2008 Olympics) and Julie Croket (vault finalist at the 2008 Junior Europeans). Things will definitely return to order gradually. Fingers crossed!"

Up-and-coming Belgian star Marieke Herteleer (photo taken from Marieke's website)

So there you have it - inside news, from an unknown source. We'll keep an eye on the regular media for "official" confirmations.

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