Flemish budget for top athletes 2 million up

The Flemish Sports Minister Ben Weyts (nationalist) has announced an extra budget of 2 million euros to support the top athletes. He underlines the importance of focusing on athletes who are capable of making it to the world's top 8 of their discipline, because they serve as an example for other people and make them engage in a new sport. 

Mr Weyts made his announcement in Belek (Turkey) where he visited the Belgian sportsmen and -women at a special training camp to prepare the Olympic Games in Tokyo. The specific budget for elite sporters will be increased by 2 million to reach 26 million. Another 10 million has been earmarked for investments in sports infrastructure. 

Ben Weyts underlined that special performances have "a significant impact on society.  Their peformances are a trigger for members of the public to pick up a new sport. Look at the gym federation: the number of members rose from 100,000 to 120,000 thanks to the Nina Derwael (who took back-to-back gold medals at the uneven bars in the 2018 and 2019 World Championships). You can say the same about hockey (where the Belgian men are the reigning European and World Champions)."

Photo: Ben Weyts with Jonathan Saccoor, the 800 metres specialist and one of the rising stars of Belgian athletics.