Carom Billiard - 3-Cushion - Superprestige - Lommel (BEL)
Belgians historical the best, Koreans now on top
© Kozoom photo
The Belgian top players at the start of the Cuvino Superprestige in Lommel.
LOMMEL – Is it safe to say that the nr. 1 country in the world of three cushion is bringing its 16 best players in the ring (in Lommel) to compete for a prestigious title? No it isn’t! With Frédéric Caudron, the world’s nr. 1, the Belgians have the best player and they can summon up 10 others to rival the best countries in the world, but the strongest three cushion nation?
For a number of years already, that country is South Korea. Kyung-Roul Kim being the flagbearer, followed by the likes of Sung-Won Choi, Jae Ho Cho, Choong Bok Lee and youth world champion Haeng Jik Kim, the Koreans are firmly on top of the table.
Nevertheless, the Cuvino Superprestige does showcase a collection of established names and upcoming talents, such as Frédéric Caudron, Eddy Merckx, Eddy Leppens, Peter Ceulemans, Jef Philipoom, Roland Forthomme and ten other quality names. They will compete for the title won last year by Caudron.
The Belgians have by far the most impressive three cushion history: their hegemony started with Rene Vingerhoedt, world champion in 1948 and 1960, but the glory years were those belonging to Raymond Ceulemans, who was almost invincible from 1963 to 1990, in his favorite discipline.
Frédéric Caudron is now wearing the emperor’s crown, but in numbers, Belgium is no longer the dominant country. Korea is, but what is missing for them is title-success in major championships.
The 5 best Koreans are in better positions than next competitor Belgium.
If we combine the best 5, we arrive at the following total:
7 Sung-Won Choi, 8 Kyung-Roul Kim, 9 Jae Ho Cho, 16 Choong Bok Lee, 19 Dong Koong Kang, making a total of 59.
The 5 best Belgians:
1 Frédéric Caudron, 12 Eddy Merckx, 18 Eddy Leppens, 23 Jef Philipoom, 27 Roland Forthomme, bringing the total to 81.
Third place for 5 best players: Turkey:
13 Tayfun Tasdemir, 14 Murat Naci Coklu, 15 Lütfi Cenet, 21 Adnan Yüksel, 32 Savas Bulut.
Total for the Turks: 95 punten.
The top 5 of the top 5’s is completed by The Netherlands and Spain.
The Dutch have Dick Jaspers (2nd), Raimond Burgman (26), Jean Paul de Bruijn (33), Jean van Erp (37) and Glenn Hofman (38), for a total of 136 points.
Spain with Dani Sánchez (4th), Javier Palazón (17), Ruben Legazpi (31), Antonio Ortiz (41) and Jose Maria Mas (99) for a total of 192 points.
The number six is Colombia with Carlos Campino (30), Andres Naranjo (35), Heriberto Aristazabal (44), Robinson Morales (46) and Henry Diaz (47), a total of 202 points.
Possibly the biggest surprise is Egypt, at place 7 on the list. With Sameh Sidhom (28th), Riad Nady (61), Khaled Salem (86), Ihab El Messery (87) and Ragdi Henri (103), they score a total of 365 points.
We all know that Egypt, in all fairness, is not one of the top 10 countries in three cushion. The reason could be that they had the benefit of soms wild cards for World Cups and World Championships.
The top 5 countries in the world:
1 South Korea (59 points)
2 Belgium (81 points)
3 Turkey (95 points)
4 Netherlands (136 points)
5 Spain (192 points).
Far behind are the French, because even though Jérémy Bury is in top ten of the world (fifth), Jérôme Barbeillon at 39 and Jean Reverchon at 59, but then there is a gap to Joel Switala who's 88 in that ranking and Xavier Clausse even at 338. The Greeks and Germans have top payers with Filippos Kasidokostas, Nikos Polychronopoulos and Martin Horn, but hardly have other players in top of the rankings.
The Germans - for intance, could bring a strong line-up to the table with Martin Horn, Christian Rudolph, Markus and Stefan Galla, Thorsten Frings, Ronny Lindemann and Markus Dömer.
This list does of course not paint a 100 % accurate picture. Think for example of Semih Sayginer, no dount a top 10 candidate, who has not been active in the World Cups for several seasons. The same goes for Dutchman Frans van Kuyk, who only played the Hurghada World Cup last year.
Pedro Piedrabuena is also way too low on the list (67), but then the naturalized American hardly ever gets awarded a wild card.
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