The countdown towards Tokyo 2020 was announced today in the presence of Mr. Masafumi Ishii, Ambassador of Japan in Belgium, together with the Belgium-Japan Association, the Belgium Interfederal Olympic Committee (BOIC) – also known as Team Belgium.
“Belgium hosted the Olympic Games nearly 100 years ago in 1920. Antwerp was then the Olympic City. That’s an important date for us because it was the first time Japan participated in the Olympic Games and even won a medal! “ explained Ambassador Ishii. “Japan and Belgium share a special bond. As an example, in 2016 we have celebrated 150 years of diplomatic relations. It is indeed with great pleasure that I’m taking part of this fantastic adventure of promoting Tokyo2020 in Belgium” he concluded.
In Rio de Janeiro, Belgium brought 107 athletes and won in total 6 medals. Another relevant figure is that 40% of Belgium athletes reached the TOP-8. The goals is clear: to beat this result. Rob Vanhees, Marketing & Partnership Manager of the Team Belgium explained that “We started our campaign on time in order to collect founds for our athletes. You should take into account that we are not just talking about paying the trips and accommodation to our team but supporting their preparation until 2020, insure that all their material will be delivered on time and of course during the competition”.
In this context, the Belgium-Japan Association (BJA) is multiplying their actions in order to attract more investment in Team Belgium explained Gilbert Declerck, BJA President.
From Rio de Janeiro to Tokyo
In the framework of Tokyo2020, it was announced in 2016 a direct flight from Brussels to Tokyo, operated by All Nippon Airlines, on a daily basis. The Belgium Team should, in principle, expect a lot of supporters. A question was raised about the potential delays of the works in Tokyo – specially after what happened in Rio de Janeiro. “I don’t think it will happen in Japan. Believe me, we are very used to this kind of events” explained Ambassador Ishii.
Simon Gougnard, Belgian Hockey player, is looking forward for going back to the Olympic arena. He’s one of the Red Lions heroes that won the silver medal in Rio2016. “The Belgium Olympic Committee really believed in us since the beginning. Since London 2012. Even if we didn’t win a medal at the time, they gave us a lot of support and finally we reached the podium in Rio de Janeiro. Now we hope to reach the gold medal in Tokyo. It would be amazing!”.