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Sports Gala Belgium: another triumph for Olympic champions Van Avermaet and Thiam

Greg Van Avermaet and Nafi Thiam were crowned Belgium's Sportsman and sportswoman of 2016 (Photo:

BRUSSELS, December 21, 2016 - Greg Van Avermaet was crowned Belgium’s Sportsman of the year during the annual Sports Gala in Brussels. Van Avermaet collected a massive 1187 points to win the trophy for the first time, after his best season to date.

The 31-year-old cyclist started the season by winning the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad as well as Tirreno Adriatico. He broke his collar bone in the Tour of Flanders, but was back in shape in summer, winning a stage in the Tour de France and wearing the yellow jersey for three days. But the greatest win in his career came in August when Van Avermaet powered to victory in the road cycling event at the Olympic Games in Rio. Swimmer Pieter Timmers, the Olympic 100 metres freestyle silver medalist, came second in the referendum, beating tennis player David Goffin into third place.

There was no competition this year for Nafi Thiam, who clinched the Sportswoman of the year award for the second time in her career. Thiam is only 22, but won a surprise Olympic gold in the heptathlon in Rio, setting five PBs in the process. Thiam received a record 1300 points, nearly double the points of cyclist Jolien D’Hoore who came second. Third place was for 2015 Sportswoman of the year Delfine Persoon (boxing).

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