Anecdotes of sports medicine - Karel Lismont

During the tenth edition of the Limburg Congress for Sports Medicine a debate between sports doctors, sports journalists and people who were closely involved in top sport was on the program.

Professor Paul Van Cauwenberge (1949-), the then head of the NTO of the University of Ghent and an avid sports fan, moderated the debate together with cabaret performer, radio presenter, columnist and journalist Armand Schreurs (1952-).

The panel included Fons Brydenbach (1954-2009), Karel Lismont (1949-), Walter Meeuws (1951-) and René Vandereycken (1953-).

At some point the role of adequate footwear was discussed and when one asked Karel Lismont when he changed footwear, he answered laconic:

"When I start to feel the stones through the soles"

In the 1970s, Karel Lismont was one of the top long distance in the world. He won two Belgian titles in field races, one in the 10,000m and three in the marathon. His four Olympic participations in the marathon gave him the silver medal at the 1972 Olympics in Munich and the bronze medal four years later in Montréal. In 1971 Lismont crowned himself European marathon champion in Helsinki and in 1978 he finished third at the European Championships in Prague. At the 1974 World Championships in Monza and in 1978 in Glasgow he won the bronze medal. A fantastic feat for an amateur, because professionally he worked full-time in Brussels for the Ministry of Finance.

In 1973, Fons Brydenbach was crowned European Youth Champion 400m in Duisburg. The following year in Sofia he improved the world indoor record in that event with a chrono of 45.9 and three weeks later in Göteborg he took the European title, which he would take a second time in 1977 in San Sebastian. In 1976, Brydenbach reached the Olympic 400m final in Montreal, finishing fourth after Cuban winner Alberto Juantorena (1950-) and Americans Fred Newhouse (1948-) and Herman Frazier (1954-), although he barely came six hundredths short for the bronze medal. Four years later in Moscow he finished fifth in the final of the same event. He embellished this beautiful palmares with nine Belgian titles. In 2009, Brydenbach died from bladder cancer.

Walter Meeuws was a central defender who became Belgian champion with Club Brugge in 1980, and again with Standard Liège in 1982 and 1984. He also played for the Dutch top club Ajax Amsterdam and was a member of the Belgian team that lost the final of the European Championship with 2-1 from Germany in 1980. Meeuws was called 45 times for the national team. After his player's career, Meeuws trained many Belgian and foreign clubs and in 1990 he guided the Belgian national team to the WC in Italy. As a trainer he won 3 cups with Antwerp, Lierse and the Moroccan Far Rabat and the Supercup with Lierse. In 1993 he lost the final of the European Cup II at Wembley with Antwerp and with Raja Casablanca he reached the final of the African Champions League.

René Vandereycken played for Club Brugge and RSC Anderlecht and was later active as a trainer at Standard Liège, KAA Gent and FC Twente. From 2006 to 2009 he was Belgian national coach and in 1991 he was elected Trainer of the Year in Belgium. With Club Brugge Vandereycken became Belgian champion in 1976, 1977, 1978 and 1980 and with Anderlecht in 1985 and 1986. In 1977 he also won the Belgian Cup with Club Brugge and in 1980 the Super Cup. He also won the  supercup in 1985 with Anderlecht. In 1978 Vandereycken reached the final of European Cup 1 with Bruges where he met Liverpool, an opponent that he also encountered two years earlier in the final of the UEFA Cup. In 1984 he played the final of the UEFA Cup with Anderlecht against Totteham Hotspur. Vandereycken was selected 50 times for the Belgian national team, which he also trained from 2005 to 2009. He was also trainer of 7 clubs.