Hellebaut targets the 2013 European Athletics Indoor Championships in Göteborg | 31.08.2012
|Former Olympic high jump champion Tia Hellebaut
of Belgium has confirmed her participation at the
2013 European Athletics Indoor Championships
Hellebaut told the Belgian media she has a special relationship with the city in which she became European champion in 2006.
Before ending her 2012 season, Hellebaut is also set to compete in front of her home crowd at the Samsung Diamond League meeting in Brussels on Friday September 7 where she will once again confront the Olympic champion, Anna Chicherova and bronze medallist, Svetlana Shkolina, both from Russia.
"I was initially disappointed that I did not clear two metres," said Hellebaut, commenting on her season. "But eventually I still got fifth place at the biggest competition in the world," she wrote on her website. At the London Games she equalled her season's best of 1.97.
"Disappointment is part of healthy ambition in the sport, but after that you dare to set new goals," she insisted. "At the Indoor Championships in March 2013 I'm there."
The 2013 European Athletics Indoor Championships will take place in Göteborg. "This is a special place for me," says Hellebaut. "It was there, at the European Athletics U23 Championships in 1999 that I first realised that I could get somewhere in this sport."
On that occasion, Hellebaut finished fifth in the heptathlon which was her main discipline before she switched to the high jump.
"Seven years later I took my first gold in Göteborg at the European Athletics Championships. I really must go back to that place." In those 2006 championships, Hellebaut cleared 2.03 to win the high jump and then two years later caused one of the biggest upsets of the Beijing Olympics when she beat favorite Blanca Vlasic of Croatia to the gold with a lifetime best 2.05.
Hellebaut announced her retirement in 2008 and gave birth to a daughter, Lotte, but inspired by Belgian tennis player, Kim Clijsters, who resumed her career after childbirth, Hellebaut returned to the track in 2010 and finished fifth at that year's European Athetics Championships. Last year, she gave birth to her second daughter, Saartje.
Fellow Belgian, talented hurdler Anne Zagré, is moving to Florida to live and train at the Florida State University she has announced on Twitter.
Zagré is following the path of twin brothers Kevin and Jonathan Borlée who studied at the university some years ago.
Zagré, 22, has enjoyed the best season of her career with three national records over 100m hurdles, finally establishing it at 12.79 in Luzern in July. In the London Olympics she went out in the semi-finals.