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Belgian Champion Verschueren Ready To Take On Europe
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Although Lisa Verschueren partially credits her all-around victory at the recent Belgian cChampionships to mistakes by her rivals, she told IG she was still pleased to win her first senior national title.

Although Lisa Verschueren partially credits her all-around victory at the recent Belgian cChampionships to mistakes by her rivals, she told IG she was still pleased to win her first senior national title.

Verschueren outscored two-time Olympian and defending champion Gaelle Mys at the Belgian championships, held April 5-6 in Mechelen. Laura Waem placed third for the second consecutive year. Mys and Waem made the all-around final at last fall’s world championships in Antwerp, where they finished 18th and 21st, respectively.

"The reason I won was that I fell just one time on the beam," said Verschueren, who placed third all-around at the 2012 Belgian Championships and second all-around at the 2013 Belgian Championships. "Laura fell twice - one time on beam and one time on floor. Gaelle also fell twice, two times on the beam. So that was my chance to win this competition, and I was very happy with it."

Verschueren, who finished 36th all-around in qualifications at the 2013 Worlds, is now aiming for a steady performance at the European championships that will take place May 12-18 in Sofia.

"I hope that I will make the final on bars, and maybe I will also have more points in the all-around," said Verschueren, who last weekend combined with Mys and Waem to place third in a tri-meet among Romania, France and Belgium in Avoine, France. "[Uneven bars] is my best apparatus and I have already won a medal on bars."

In March, Verschueren finished second on uneven bars and fifth all-around at the International Gymnix Challenge in Montreal. She placed eighth on uneven bars at the 2013 Doha Challenger Cup in Qatar.

Born June 14, 1995, in Sint-Niklaas, Verschueren is coached by Chiara Thys and Joke Mertens at the Sportiva Sint-Gillis-Waas club, and by Yves Kieffer and Marjorie Heuls at the Belgian national team training center in Ghent.

Verschueren was a member of the Belgian team that placed 10th at the 2010 European Junior Championships in Birmingham, fifth at the 2012 Olympic test event in London (where the top four teams qualified for the 2012 London Games), and sixth at the 2012 Europeans in Brussels.

Verschueren credits said the current Belgian team’s success to its depth and unity.

"I think our team is really strong now because we have good gymnasts with experience, and we are also very close," she told IG.

Team veteran Julie Croket is recovering from a foot fracture and is expected to be back in contention by this fall’s worlds in Nanning, according to Belgian Gymnastics Federation spokesperson Inge Doens. "Her rehabilitation is going well," Doens said.

Croket, who won the Belgian all-around title in 2010 and 2012, placed 12th all-around at the 2011 Europeans in Berlin and eighth on floor exercise at the 2012 Europeans in Brussels. While rehabilitating, she is also studying to become a primary-school teacher.

International Gymnast magazine’s coverage of Belgian gymnasts includes:

Laura Waem profile (April 2014)
"Quick Chat: Julie Croket" – interview (December 2012)
"Gaining Confidence" – Croket profile (November 2010)
"Mighty Mys" - Gaelle Mys profile (October 2005)
"Rising Moonen" - Lynn Moonen profile (December 2004)
"Making Her Way" - Aagje Vanwalleghem profile (August/September 2004)

To order back issues, or subscribe to the print and/or digital edition of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

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