10 August 2004
BRUSSELS – The women’s world tennis number one Justine Henin-Hardenne was among the first of Belgium’s Olympic contenders to fly out to Athens, it was reported on Tuesday.
On Monday morning, journalists gathered at Brussels National Airport to watch Henin board her flight to Greece. Her decision to compete in the games pleased fans who had feared she might stay at home. She has been recovering from a virus, which has kept her out of tournament tennis for the last 12 weeks.
“To compete in the Olympic Games at 22 is simply great,” she said. However, she added that it might take two or three matches for her to get back into her stride.
“I will force myself to give my best,” she added.
Coach Carlos Rodriguez flew with Henin, along with other Belgium team members, including Ann Simons, who is hoping to win a medal in Judo at Athens, kayakers Bob Maesen and Wouter D’Haene and canoeist Petra Santy.
Other athletes were expected to follow on Tuesday and the next few days to arrive for the opening ceremony of the games on Friday.
It is probable that Henin will be picked to carry the Belgian flag at the ceremony, although a decision on the matter will probably only be made on Thursday.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news