The 41st edition of the KBC Night of Athletics is scheduled for Sunday in Heusden-Zolder. The organization has ensured a strong field of participants in which the best Belgian athletes can compete with a number of international toppers. Ward D’Hoore (HAC) from Torhout will be at the start in the 5000 meters and hopes to set a new personal record.
It has been a strange summer of athletics due to the corona pandemic. Athletes had to train for months without a specific goal and could only enter competition from the beginning of August. Many meetings were canceled and as a result there were only few opportunities for the athletes to cash in on their hard training work at a competition. However, Ward D’Hoore proved in recent weeks that it can also be done that way.
“It is indeed a strange athletics season,” he says. “As an athlete you have a number of goals in mind and then you try to work towards them with a clear plan. Due to the corona pandemic, that schedule had to be constantly adjusted and that was difficult.”
“I hear that a lot of athletes had a hard time with their motivation to train during the lockdown, but that didn’t bother me. I always kept training, but of course it was a bit of adjustment. The more intensive training sessions that you normally complete on the slopes and in a group, you now had to complete alone and on a different terrain. But hey, it worked.”
The Houtland AC athlete has already played three times this summer and immediately proved that the form was fine. “My first race was a 3000 meters on August 1, and I immediately ran 8.01.36. That was my second best performance ever at that distance and I was very happy with that. That was already a sign that the condition was fine.”
On August 16, D’Hoore entered the Belgian Championship 5000m as one of the favorites. After his silver medal in 2019, he was crowned national champion for the first time in his career after a very nice competition. “That’s definitely one of the highlights of my career. I knew I had a chance, but you can’t just knock athletes like Steven Casteele and Lahsene Bouchikhi. With a time of 14.08.92 I am now also on the honors list of national champions,” he laughs.
His personal best at that distance is 13.58.75 and he hopes to gnaw a piece of that on Sunday. “It will be the last race of my summer season and I hope to finish with a personal record. The organization provided a nice field of participants and I think a dive under fourteen minutes should be possible.”