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Carom Billiard - 3-Cushion - McCreery Champion of Champions - new-york (USA)

Kurt Ceulemans: it's all world class in McCreery

Posted by on August 10, 2018

Kurt Ceulemans: it's all world class in McCreery

© McCreery
Kurt Ceulemans interviewing Turkish star player Semih Sayginer

NEW YORK - The McCreery Champion of Champions tournament in New York, named after Wayman C. McCreery (1851-1901), a famous American in the history of three cushion, is facing the finals today and Saturday. Twelve players from the world top are in the battle for the most impressive prize money ever in three cushion: a total of 600.000 dollars, of which 150.000 dollars for the winner, 90.000 for the losing finalist. Kurt Ceulemans, son of the legend Raymond Ceulemans, is the interviewer and commentator during and after the matches, one of the entertainers, who watched the tournament from inside.

Kozoom went for an interview with the Belgian all-round man on the eve of the finals: the organizer of one of the last World Cups this year, in Blankenberge, also known as a player in the Belgian and Dutch league. How does he experience the McCreery, how is the atmosphere among players and followers, what is his first conclusion at the end of the tournament? In short: an impression of the man in front of and behind the scenes towards the McCreery 3 Cushion Champion of Champions.

Frits Bakker/Kozoom: What are your main impressions after the first five days, on the way to the show down?
Kurt Ceulemans: An unprecedented production team, but also without experience in billiards. It is a learning process, but oh man, what have they learned a lot the past few days. Professional and world top all the way.

Kozoom/FB: You have a double role: interviews with players and comments during the matches. That's the perfect mix for the entertainer Kurt Ceulemans, right?
Kurt Ceulemans: It's nice to switch and the contact with the players is more intense than in any other tournament. The two professionals, Ted and Todd from the sports world, are absolute world class. I have a lot of respect for that, it's wonderful to work with them.

Kozoom/FB: How is the atmosphere between the players, do they feel at home and comfortable in this setting?
Kurt Ceulemans: The players enjoy it very much, they are treated like superstars.

Kozoom/FB: What were the main things to improve after the first few days?
Kurt Ceulemans: Bringing the right emotion was not that good, but I dare say that they worked hard on it with the help of Kozoom.

Kozoom/FB: The comments from the outside world are more and more positive every day. The recurring complaint is: we can't choose the matches we want to see, like on Kozoom. Do you understand the comments?
Kurt Ceulemans: For the real insiders, but for the watchers all over the world, this is a revelation and this first edition will bring an unprecedented result afterwards.

Kozoom/FB: How long and intensive are the days for you and for the players? What does a day look like?
Kurt Ceulemans: We start with the meetings at 8 o'clock. The first seance is at 10, the second at 12, then we go into the break. We start again with the third session at 15.00, the fourth and last at 17.00. Then we sit down together for a variety of dinners and entertainment.

Kozoom/FB: How do you deal with two typical Americans, coming from the pool world and relatively unknown with three-cushion. Jeannette Lee, nicknamed 'The black widow' and Ted Lerner, the other side kick.
Kurt Ceulemans: The collaboration is flawless. Discuss every day what can possibly be improved and adjusted. All with a listening ear and open-minded.

Kozoom/FB: Who are your favourites for the finals?
Kurt Ceulemans: Caudron, Merckx, Jaspers, Sayginer...! My feeling is that Sayginer still has no certainty, that he needs one more victory.

Kozoom/FB: The level of matches increases: high runs, high averages, despite the immense tension. That says it all regarding the quality of the field?
Kurt Ceulemans: The players are established and it's about big money, everybody wants to show his best. The pressure is high, that ensures top concentration and dedication. They all give the best of themselves.

Kozoom/FB: The setting is the most impressive that has ever been shown.
Kurt Ceulemans: It can hardly be explained. What they have to deal with, is the absence of spectators. Furthermore, the technology can't be better.

Kozoom/FB: How is it for the players: aren't day disturbed in their focus?
Kurt Ceulemans: The players are used to the environment and ambiance, meanwhile. And it does not affect them anymore. Despite that, sometimes there are comments, because the audience certainly has an influence on players during the matches. But of course that's also the other way around, because the public can influence negatively.

Kozoom/FB: The course so far: Caudron, Merckx, Jaspers, they are what everyone expected. Does it surprise you that Semih Sayginer is among among the top contenders?
Kurt Ceulemans: Semih won his first five matches and immediately was the player to beat. Of course, it's needless to say that he felt good from the first moment. We all know he likes the attention and the show element, so he was 'in the zone' from day one.

Kozoom/FB: How does your father, Raymond, feel in this great field, is this a glorious farewell tour on the international stage?
Kurt Ceulemans: As everyone knows, he still has the fighting spirit, but he performs below his normal level. Which disappoints him a bit, that's logical. Despite that, he is the ambassador and the respect is huge. A well-deserved appreciation from everyone involved in this event.

Kozoom/FB: Do you think that this tournament is not only historic, but also will get a sequel?
Kurt Ceulemans: It may already be called historical and as the enthusiasm evolves, I dare to assume that this will certainly not be the last initiative.

Thanks, Kurt, good luck in the final days of McCreery (Kozoom)

Kurt Ceulemans speaking with Bilo Salama, the head of the referees


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