BrusselsLife with Frédéric Xhonneux

Frédéric Solvel.

08 Dec 2010, 05:12 Last Updated: 18 Dec 2013, 13:12

As men go, our man is pretty good. It should be said that Fred Xhonneux is a great hope of Belgian Olympic sport. For several years he's been collecting trophies in a discipline, which, wrongly, is unknown by the general public: the decathlon. That is to say the sequence, over two days, of ten athletic events: 100 metres, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400 metres, 110 metres hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin, and 1500 metres. 14th in the Helsinki World Championships, at the age of 23, Fred Xhonneux has his whole future before him.


Inhabitant of Brussels as always, Fred grew up in Laeken, went to school in the College Saint-Pierre de Jette, then took a course in physical education at the Parnassus. Without forgetting his training at the Royal Excelsior Sports Club, in Laeken, which he has been practising since he was seven. Still today, he lives in Laeken, a commune that he particularly likes for its many parks that enable him to go running, and also, when there are not too many people about, to train for the javelin, the weight, or the discus? No worries then if, one day, a large metal frisbee whizzes past your nose during a family walk in Atomium Park ? Fred Xhonneux is in the neighbourhood. Matthieu Lethé

Tof or not?

First of all, where do you live? Since when? In which districts have you been living recently? Chaussée Romaine, therefore in the North of Brussels, between Jette and Wemmel. I've always lived there. Your tof café? The clubhouse of my athletics club, the Excelsior. Your tof restaurant? I rather like composing my plate of pasta at the Aquarelle, on Avenue Houba. If not, the Patattezak in Strombeek is a cult restaurant! Your tof place for spending a good evening? In any stadium or sports hall, or concert hall? if the music is good? and cool (Ten Weyngaert, Botanique, AB?). Your tof place for spending a good Sunday? In Brussels, it's training in the morning at the Roi Baudouin Stadium or Laeken Park, followed by a swimming pool in Neder-over-Hembeek. Your tof place for developing your culture capital (cinema, theatre, museum, show)? I don't really have time for culture, although I live just one kilometre from the Kinepolis. Your tof district of Brussels? I like where I live a lot, there are a fair number of parks in the area (Laerbeek, Baudouin, Laeken, Dieleghem?). Ideal for a gallop! If you had to make a visit to Brussels with a foreign friend, where would you take him or her first? To see the Atomium, and from there, he would have to follow a Japanese coach if he wanted any more! What's your tof thing about Brussels? What is that means that you would never move from Brussels? The fact that you can find everything you want there and that nothing's far away! And then also, of course, the Van Damme Memorial, the greatest athletics meeting in the world, which I haven't missed for 17 years! What's really not your tof thing about Brussels? What you would make you flee from Brussels?Congestion, Brussels is the victim of its success and its geographical location. If not, the people in the tube at rush hour (stifling). Also, what would make me flee Brussels, is the lack of indoor athletics facilities. Tell us if this idea is Tof or not Tof. If you wish, justify your opinion. - A floating swimming pool on the canal? OK, but I don't see the point! - Congestion tax for cars? No access at all for cars? But a cheaper tube, then? - No smoking in restaurants and bars? That would be good for our lungs! - A ban on chip shops?For sportsmen, that would be one less temptation. But it's so good now and again. And so Belgian?