Our 12-strong Team Lëtzebuerg has athletes competing in athletics, cycling, swimming, equestrianism, table tennis, triathlon and archery. (seventh of twelve)
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).
The 36-year-old archer Jeff Henckels is seeing his third Olympics after London and Athens.
Henckels was afforded an opportunity to prove his mettle after two other countries dropped out. Not without earning his place, though: in the run up to the Olympics, he worked his way to the top, progressing in his world ranking from #93 to #33. All of this, despite an elbow injury, which in the end, like the postponed Games, almost turned out to be a bit of a blessing in disguise: “I basically had to start all over again. I changed things I probably wouldn’t have done otherwise. I use lighter arrows now which probably helps, but you wouldn’t change mid-season because it’s considered risky.”
After breaking a new national record in the qualification round in Paris, Henckels feels positively about the Games and his performance so far. He hopes for this to continue: “I don’t have specific goals really. I just wanted to have a good season, which worked well this year, and that’s my aim for Tokyo.”
Henckels has professed some disappointment about the current conditions. Originally expecting them to be “phenomenal”, Henckels regrets how the pandemic will impact the atmosphere of the Olympics: “Before you could walk around, cheer for your teammates, but this time I think we’re all going to be kind of locked up, which will obviously be kind of sad for the team [...]”
Nevertheless, Henckels is proud to be doing his part in representing the grand Duchy: “It means a lot. It makes you proud. To be part of a small group representing a whole nation.”