Today, the international four-country tournament with the Belgian Cats starts in Sportcampus Lange Munte in Kortrijk. Emma Meesseman and her teammates will meet three teams with Serbia, Puerto Rico and Nigeria that have been qualified for the Olympic Games. The Cats open tonight (5:05 pm, direct to Sporza) versus Serbia.
Two weeks ago, the Belgian Cats started preparing for a busy summer, with in addition to the European Championship (17 to 27 June) also the Olympic Games (23 July to 8 August). This week, Julie Allemand and Kim Mestdagh were the last to join the selection. With a core of sixteen Cats, national coach Philip Mestdagh is now entering the final phase towards the European Championship, which starts in Strasbourg in France on 17 June. Today (5 pm, directly at Sporza) a solid test follows for the Belgian Cats, the number 6 in the world, versus Serbia (number 8 worldwide). Among the Serbs, Ivana Katanic, among others. She will play for Kangaroos Mechelen next season and lost the final of the European Championship U18 against the Young Cats a few years ago with Serbia, including Billie and Becky Massey.
On Saturday, the Cats will take on Puerto Rico. The South American team is number 23 on the world ranking and is one of the opponents in the group stage at the games in Tokyo. Finally, on Sunday (2 pm) Emma Meesseman and co. finally versus Nigeria (number 17 in the world).
“We are sixteen players and I want to see everyone at work this weekend,” said national coach Philip Mestdagh. Julie Allemand and Kim Mestdagh, who only joined Montpellier and Schio this week after a long season, will play one of the three games. Emma Meesseman will also get one game rest, ”said Philip Mestdagh.
Practice matches Belgian Cats as a test event with an audience
Exhibition competitions of the Belgian Cats on 9, 10 and 12 June and in Kortrijk will be used as a test event for indoor competitions with an audience. Gradually more public will be admitted – under a strict test protocol – initially 400, then 500 and then 750 people. Scientists will take test measurements. Koen Umans, general manager of the Belgian basketball women: “This is an important step towards admitting an audience for indoor sports.” On June 9, the Cats will practice mutually and on June 10 and 12 twice against Greece. On June 14 they leave for Strasbourg where the European Championship starts on June 17.
Federation wants to organize qualifying tournament again
If the Belgian Cats finish in the top 6 at the European Championship, they are also qualified for the qualifications for the 2022 World Cup in Australia. “We will then apply to organize a qualifying tournament, such as last year’s successful Olympic qualifying tournament in Ostend, in February 2022,” said general manager Koen Umans of the Belgian Cats.
Program Belgian Cats international tournament Kortrijk
Friday 17.05 Belgium-Serbia
Saturday 20.00 Belgium-Puerto Rico
Sunday 14:00 Belgium-Nigeria