‘Belgium Belongs Amongst The Top Nations,’ Says Deriks
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Belgian team veteran Senna Deriks heads towards her second Olympic Games more confident than ever after she helped her team qualify for next summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The 18-year-old Deriks was a member of the Belgian team that placed 10th at last month’s World Championships in Stuttgart, thereby earning a team berth to Tokyo. She also competed at the 2016 Games in Rio, where Belgium placed 12th.

In this IG Online interview, Deriks shares her thoughts on her individual prospects as well as her team’s potential for success in Tokyo.

IG: How does it feel knowing that you are headed towards your second Olympics with your entire team?

SD: I’m super excited and proud to be a part of this achievement. This is important for all of us. It proves that the system is working very well and that Belgium belongs amongst the top nations. Now we will work hard so that we can send the best team possible to Tokyo. The Olympics in Rio were very special to me, especially because I was so young. Now that I’m a little older, my position in the team has changed a bit. I’m one of the more experienced gymnasts now. I’m really looking forward to preparing for these Games with all the girls.

IG: How did you manage the conflicting emotions in Stuttgart: the excitement of qualifying for Tokyo, but at the same time, the disappointment of not qualifying for the team final by a tiny margin?

SD: I don’t think we can have any regrets about missing the team final. Coming into this competition, our only focus was to make the top 12 and qualify a full team to the Olympics. We knew that was going to be tough, but if we just hit our routines like we did in practice it was certainly possible. Yes, afterwards it was a bit of a pity when we saw how close we were to making the top eight, but it is a great motivation to train hard and make that final in Tokyo.

IG: What improvements or changes will your team need to make in order to make it into the team final in Tokyo?

SD: We need to work a lot on our vaults. It has been our weakest event for years, due to our lack of difficulty. But at these Worlds we already had Jade (Vansteenkiste) who performed a great one-and-a-half twisting Yurchenko which contributed a lot to the team result.

IG: What do you think is your team's potentially best ranking in Tokyo?

SD: Our goal is definitely to make the team final. We still have a lot of work to do, but with a good preparation we believe it is possible to present great routines and make the top eight.

IG: Since only four gymnasts will qualify for the team for Tokyo, what will be the focus or your training between now and Tokyo, so you can earn one of those spots?

SD: I will try to upgrade my difficulty on every apparatus and work on my conditioning. Once the routines are ready it’s mostly getting them stable and clean to get the highest scores possible.

Read complete coverage of the 2019 World Championships in the November 2019 issue of International Gymnast magazine.

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