15 - 25
June 2023
11 Emma Meesseman (BEL)
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More than 10 years in the making for Meesseman: ''It's a beautiful journey for sure''

BRUSSELS (Belgium) - When FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2023 MVP Emma Meesseman led Belgium to a first title in Ljubljana, few would have anticipated a prominent mention of Oradea in Romania.

But like every glorious sorting moment which is there to be enjoyed, there's almost always a fascinating back story and one that is most appreciated by those who lived and breathed it. 

As Meesseman started to process the magnitude of the accomplishment in the aftermath of the Cats' coolest night ever, her mind went fleeing back just over a decade - to a time when many of Belgium's current leading lights were still kids.

She said: "I remember our FIBA U18 Women's European Championship in Oradea and being a little naive, but thinking like, if we win gold now and some years go by and everybody grows up, we can still do it because that's the logical thing.

Three of the Cats' starting five in Meesseman, Julie Vanloo and Antonia Delaere won U18 gold in Oradea in 2011

"You know, that we were better than this generation and so if you just keep going, we can do it at the senior level. And, it happened - with some players from that generation.

"So, it's a beautiful journey for sure and it's something that I hope we all realize that we have to appreciate because it's not normal - it's beautiful."

Another prominent thought at the front of Meesseman's was to acknowledge exactly where the senior team was a decade ago. A stark comparison to being sat clutching her winners' medal.

"10 years ago, we were nowhere and I don't even think we were ranked," she revealed.

"We didn't dare to dream this."

As the new MVP and her colleagues reflect on an incredible new high tide mark, something which was even accompanied by a heroes welcome on their return to home soil, just don't ask Meesseman to try rank the success in terms of her glittering career.

She said: "I think everyone knows I love writing history and we just did this a couple of times already with the Belgian Cats.

"I don't have to choose because pretty much everything we did was a first. Well you still have the Worlds, but we're happy just now to have the European Championship.

"I really don't need to choose any big moments because I just want to have as many as I can.

"But this one definitely makes me most proud of this team, you know, to go out and achieve this," concluded Meesseman.