Belgium's Van Den Broeck aims to outdo Moens and van Damme in Helsinki
Belgian athletes made the news at the last European Athletics Championships in Barcelona two years thanks to Kevin Borlée taking the men's 400m gold medal but Jan Van Den Broeck has shown this winter that the country has some prowess over two laps of the track as well.
The 23-year-old from Dendermonde improved his indoor 800m time to 1:47.19, just 18-hundredths shy of his outdoor best from last year, and placed an unexpected fifth at the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul last month.
Now he has set his sights on impressing at this summer's European Athletics Championships in Helsinki after not progressing out of his heat in Barcelona.
"Before this season I was going to the big events and was just glad to be there. Even at the World Indoor Championships, I was just aiming for the semi-final and not thinking about a medal but my performance in Istanbul has given me a lot of confidence, I think I have some possibilities at the European Athletics Championships.
It will not be easy to make the 800m podium at the European Athletics Championships, which will be held in the Finnish capital from 27 June - 1 July.
Among Van Den Broeck's likely rivals are Poland's defending champion Marcin Lewandowski, Czech Republic's World Indoor Championships silver medallist Jakub Holusa and the British pair of Andrew Osagie and Michael Rimmer but the Belgian runner believes he's got a few weapons in his armoury that could produce a surprise.
"I expect it to be a tactical race and I have a good sprint finish so good things could happen," he added.
Van Den Broeck is currently enjoying a stint of warm-weather training in Monte Gordo, on Portugal's Algarve coast, in order to get prepare for his bid to become Belgium's first men's 800m medallist at the European Athletics Championships since Lucien De Muynck finished second in 1954.
Perhaps surprisingly to many people, neither Roger Moens nor Ivo van Damme, the two Belgian legends of 800m running who got Olympic medals over two laps of the track, won a medal at the European Athletics Championships.