One year on, the Tokyo Olympics are finally taking place, albeit without a national or international audience. (First in a series of twelve).
Our 12-strong Team Lëtzebuerg has athletes competing in athletics, cycling, swimming, equestrianism, table tennis, triathlon and archery.
FYI: The so-called “cadre élite” comprises those athletes who have both participated in a certain number of high-level competitions and either achieved, or been close to achieving, the specific standard set to enter the “high performance” category of their sport (distinguished from “mass sport” or “recreational sport”).
The “cadre promotion” includes athletes who have not yet made the “elite” category but have a realistic chance of doing so within the first 6 years upon admission. This is not achieved by meeting specific criteria, but by their general performance as well as participation in high performance international competitions (within respective age categories and 5th and 6th years of performance).
Bob Bertemes has been part of the elite team chosen by the Luxembourg Sporting and Olympic Committee since 2014. Born in Luxembourg and based in Belval – Bertemes trains with C.A. Belval – this is Bertemes’ first Olympics. Although Bertemes’ Coach Khalid Alqawati transformed his garage into a training space during the pandemic, Bertemes stated that maintaining strength and flexibility conditioning throughout the lockdown was one of the biggest challenges he faced.
Nevertheless, Bertemes professes excitement and pride on participating in the Olympics: “It’s really cool because we’re currently going through a period where shot-put is better than it’s ever been before. to be able to say ‘I am part of this’ is motivating in itself. And now of course there’s a new world record to break.” (USA athlete Ryan Crouser beat the 1990 record on the 18 June 2021 by hitting the 23.37 mark).
While Bertemes has surpassed the 22m mark twice, he has not done so at an international competition, for which the Tokyo Olympics now provide ample opportunity. He won first place in the Games of the Small States of Europe in Iceland in 2015, fifth at the 2015 European Indoor Championships, and set the national record in Luxembourg City with 22.22m in 2019.
Reflecting on what he has gained from his profession, Bertemes said that the sport has taught him a lot, both about himself and about his body: “I can better understand my limits, and how to push them further, and that it’s the little things that count. The most important lesson I learned was being patient which sometimes I’m still bad at.”