At the end of 2012, a tumor was discovered in my right upper leg. After 18 weeks of chemotherapy, the doctors decided to amputate my leg, which happened on 06/06/2013. Mentally this was a difficult period. But thanks to the support of family and friends, especially my wife, I have always remained positive. The hope that I could do sports again has pulled me through the rehabilitation period.
As early as January 2014, thanks to Anvasport, I got the opportunity to go skiing for the first time in my life. First on one leg for a few days, then with a prosthesis. This week was a major breakthrough in my rehabilitation process. I realized that everything is possible, even with a disability. The next step was a running prosthesis (a ‘blade’). At the beginning of 2015 I started training in athletics club AC Deinze, under the guidance of trainer Mieke Van Thuyne. A few months later I became Belgian Champion on the 100m and the 200m, with a Belgian record on the 200m! Because I have a too short stump, I will never be able to reach the international top in this sport.
Before my amputation, I did triathlon and somehow I still hoped to be able to do triathlon again. In between the athletics trainings, I went swimming again. In May 2016 I took part in the Belgian Championship Swimming, where I surprisingly swam some nice results: silver in the 50m freestyle, bronze in the 100m freestyle and 4th in the 400m freestyle. But swimming is a very technical sport, and I was too old to learn a perfect technique which could bring me to an international level.
Triathlon is however not an option anymore. I’m unable to run long distances, due to my short stump. My best discipline in triathlon has always been cycling. So as of I occasionally went out for a ride on my bike. In the beginning these were rides of only 5 to 10km. Longer rides were physically not possible: riding on 1 leg turned out to be harder then I thought. Apparently pulling the pedal is a movement my muscles weren’twas used to. But I persisted, and week by week I was able to drive longer distances. At the beginning of 2016 I started to increase my training. In June 2016 I rode my very first race, the Belgian Championship, where I won bronze in my category.
Since 2017, I focus specifically on paracycling. Thanks to the professional support of my trainer Remko Meeusen and the federation Parantee-Psylos, I made a great progress througout the years, with a pinacle in January 2020: my worldtitle in the individual pursuit.
Tokyo 2020 was a great experience, with mixed feelings. I rode the fastest time in the qualifications of the Individual Pursuit, in a new WR. But the UCI disqualified me, because of a wrong position on the bike. A few days later I took revenge by winning the silver medal in the time trial!
With the support of family, friends and sponsors, I hope to achieve my ultimate goal: a gold medal at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games!