Belgian jumping team takes unprecedented gold medal

The Belgian jumping team has taken a gold medal at the European Championships in Rotterdam, also securing an Olympic ticket. It's the first time the Belgians managed a gold medal since the first European Championships in 1957. 

Team Belgium’s Pieter Devos (Claire Z), Jos Verlooy (Igor), Jérôme Guery (Quel Homme de Hus) and Grégory Wathelet (MJT Nevados S) advanced seven-time champions Germany, with Great Britain taking the bronze.

The last rider for Belgium, Grégory Wathelet, knew what he had to do. He had a simple but difficult challenge: making no mistake would make the Belgians the European champions. And he did it. It was a nail-biting minute for the other members of Team Belgium, but Wathelet (photo below) and Nevados kept cool. 

There were three Olympic spots on offer to countries not already qualified, and they went to Belgium, Great Britain and the fourth-placed French. "There are no words for this", said Jos Verlooy. Pieter Devos added: "We are a young team, but have some experience now. In the past years, some people had doubts about us, but today we proved we can do it." 

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