At the previous Olympics in Beijing, Belgium had to be content with 96 athletes. This edition's large group is due to the fact that both the Belgian men's and women's hockey teams qualified for London. The hockey teams account for 32 athletes.
It's 60 years since Belgium had such a large delegation. Helsinki 1952 welcomed 136 Belgian athletes. Yesterday, the BOIC decided to add five new names to the list, all in the category athletics. The five include Eline Berings (women's 100m hurdles) and triple jumper Svetlana Bolshakova.
Yesterday, the BOIC confirmed the 5 Belgian names for the road race in cycling. The Belgian champion Tom Boonen (photo) will lead the Belgian cycling team and enjoy a protected status as he will try to grab the olympic gold, challenging Mark Cavendish. Boonen will receive the help of Stijn Vandenbergh, Philippe Gilbert, Jurgen Roelandts and Greg Van Avermaet.
The delegation also includes Kevin and Jonathan Borlée for the 400 metres. The twin brothers may have the best chance of clinching a medal. They also compete with the relay team in the 4x400 metres. In tennis, Belgian fans have their hopes set on Kim Clijsters.
It was also decided that high jumper Tia Hellebaut, the 2008 olympic champion, will carry the Belgian flag during the opening ceremony on Friday 27 July. Belgium usually has small ambitions where medals are concerned, with insiders expecting 3 to 5 podium places.