On Saturday 22 July the athletics stadium De Veen is gearing up for its annual Night of Athletics. Many athletes are flocking to Heusden-Zolder to qualify for the London world championships at the last moment. For other athletes the Night of Athletics is the ideal occasion for a final repetition.
Traditionally one of the highlights of the night is the men's 1500m. New Belgian record holder Ismael Debjani wants to show his form in Heusden-Zolder. Two fellow Belgians with 1500m ambitions are Peter Callahan and Isaac Kimeli. Both Callahan and Kimeli would like to dip below the world championship limit of 3:36 at Heusden-Zolder.
In the women's 1500m race Sofie Van Accom is joined by an impressive international field. Van Accom is also looking to qualify for London in Heusden-Zolder.
In the women's 5000m event Louise Carton takes on international competition. Due to a back injury Carton hasn't been able to qualify yet for the world championships. In Heusden-Zolder she is hoping to once again find her best form and qualify at last. For Axelle Dauwens (400m hurdles) the Night of Athletics is also the last chance to run a minimum time for London.
The Borlée family is also present at the Night of Athletics. Kevin Borlée wants to work on his speed on the 200m. On the same distance Robin Vandenbemden is searching for a ticket to London. Jonathan Borlée (already qualified for the world championships, just like Kevin) wants to help out 'little' brother Dylan on the 400 metres. Dylan is already heading to London with the Belgian Tornadoes, the 4x400 relay team, but he's also looking to take part individually. Sister Olivia Borlée will be running the 200m.
In addition to a regular 400m there will also be a 4x400m on the programme. Coach Jacques Borlée is fielding two Belgian teams. Based on the night of Athletics he will make his selection of Belgian Tornadoes to head to London.
The men's 5000m is another race to watch with many fast Africans and European champion Kaya at the start. Jeroen D'Hoedt returns to that distance, while Dame Tasama makes a comeback from injury. Bashir Abdi is looking for a new personal best after already clinching a qualifying ticket for London at Eugene in the US.
European decathlon champion Thomas Van Der Plaetsen will make an appearance on the long jump. Van Der Plaetsen will have to face Mexican Luis Rivera, who jumped to bronze at the 2013 world championships in Moscow. Olympic heptathlon champions Nafi Thiam is taking part in her favourite discipline, the high jump. The Belgian star won't be gifted an easy win as Rio Olympic bronze medal winner Mirela Demireva is heading to Heusden-Zolder.
Anne Zagré took the 100m hurdles victory at the Meeting Liège. On the Night of Athletics she would like to repeat that win. Can Zagré run to a season's best time?
The women's 800m will be a battle between young and "old". With Renée Eykens, Anika Hinriksdottir and Hannah Segrave the entire podium of the European U23 championships will be at the start of the race. This young trio wants to take on several athletes who are capable of breaking the two-minute barrier.