At Etterbeek, the Paralympic Sports Awards on Friday afternoon were presented to the Belgian athletes with the best Paralympic performance in 2020. Paraglider Ewood Froman received his shield from Eddie Merckx. Among the women, too, were the cyclists at the party with Great Hoyt and Aniline Monsieur.
For the men, the “Performance of the Year” award went to Ewoud Vromant. The cyclist who had his leg amputated won the world title in the 3 km race on the World Championships track in Canada. He also earned gold in a new world record. Vromant won the election for wheelchair runners Peter Genyn and Roger Habsch and wheelchair tennis player Joachim Gérard. To his great surprise, the 36-year-old Froman received the trophy from Eddie Merckx. ‘When I got into the hall,’ replied Froman, ‘I saw Eddie Merckx sitting and I suspected he was there for me.’ “It was the first time I met him and it was a huge honour. I think Eddie has many of those social obligations and he still wants to take the time for me to hand out the trophy, I think it’s neat. And that gives this award extra character.”
Eddie Merckx thought it was important to be present. “I have a lot of admiration for Paralympic athletes. I think these people are doing a great job. I am glad a cyclist wins. Cycling is a very difficult sport that requires very hard training. Of course this applies to many sports, but cyclists have to be able to suffer.” “.
“It was a special year,” Froman said. Many of my colleagues were unable to achieve what they wanted to do. But the nominees were not the least of them, so I am proud to win this award.”
For Vromant, it will all revolve around the Paralympics at the end of August, where he will also go for the gold medal. “I have been training on the downhill for months. The World Championship track has been cancelled. We are now on our way to training in Spain for two weeks. We will prepare for the road season. It still seems normal at the moment with two World Cups and a World Cup. It has been over a year since My last post.I think I’ve made progress in training, but I also want to have that confirmation in the match.At the beginning of 2020, I had a huge boost of confidence with my world title and world record, but a year later it wasn’t clear to me what that would give him. In the real race.”
Great Hewitt and Aniline Monsieur win with the women
The Women’s Performance of the Year award went to the tandem of visually impaired women Great Hoyt and Aniline Monsieur. In 2020 they won two world championships in Canada. They became vice world champions in sprints (a non-Paralympian number) and took a bronze medal in the 3 km pursuit. They have won the election of riders Manon Claes and Michael George and badminton player Man Ki-To.
The ladies then admitted: “We were not convinced that we would win.” “Our medals are also gone from the start of 2020, and we almost forgot.” Hoyt and Monsieur are busy preparing for Tokyo. “And that’s going well. Our coach had set times last year that we had to meet. I never thought we’d ever hit it, but we’re under it anyway. In racing simulations, we now get a chrono that we’ve never had before. That gives Good feeling and great confidence in the Paralympics.We are now also contracted to participate in our sport full time.We never thought this would have such a big impact on our performance.We can rest so much and you will notice it in our Chronos.If you want to shine in our Paralympics, this is actually a necessity. If we can continue with the current streak, I think we can show really nice things.”
Finally, swimmer Tatiana Lebrun took home this year’s Engie Talent Trophy. When she received a video message from her idol Peter Timers, she burst into tears.
The winners were selected by the Belgian Paralympic Committee Board of Directors on the basis of nominations from the G-sport Parantee-Psylos and Ligue Handisport Francophone federations.