In Belgium Heidi Rakels is warming up for her candidacy as President of the Belgian Olympic and Interfederal Committee (COIB). Former Olympic medallist Rakels could become the first elected female president tomorrow evening. The former Belgian international Heidi Rakels is triple medallist at European Championships, she took silver twice and one bronze.
The silver medals both times in Paris, but in two different categories (in 1992 in U66kg, in 2001 in U78kg). Rakels is aged 52 now and comes face to face with the ex-world number one in table tennis, Jean-Michel Saive to succeed Pierre-Olivier Beckers, in place since 2004.
Rakels was most familiar as a bronze medalist at the Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992 and she finished fifth at the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000. She has announced that she wants to place the athletes and their support at the center of her priorities as a Presidential candidate. One goal: to increase Belgium’s chances of medals in major international competitions, which remains on seven Olympic medals in Tokyo (3 gold, 1 silver, 3 bronze), one more than in Rio in 2016. The election is due to take place this Friday evening in Brussels. Rakels won 7 World Cups, three times in Prague and was born in Leuven and fought for her club: Hooglede.
Rakels: “I think I’m the right person to be chairperson of the BOIC, because the BOIC has enormous challenges in the coming years. I have won a medal the Olympic Games and competed passionately in elite sports until I was 36. I was member of a successful judo team. I have also proven that I can build an organisation that is larger than the BOIC from nothing in a short space of time, and lead it successfully. I have been a member of the top sport committee in judo for a year now. This has reconnected me with the current climate in elite sports. Everyone who knows me knows that I’m a hard worker, and I will do this job full time.”
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