Carom Billiard - Carom - Kozoom News (BEL)
Raymond Ceulemans 75, tribute to a great champion
© Harry van Nijlen
Raymond Ceulemans, the all times champion, celebrates his 75th birthday.
LIER - The spotlight today (12 July 2012) once again is focused on the greatest champion of all time: Raymond Ceulemans celebrates his 75th birthday. The billiards world should dwell on a fabulous carreer, especially today, considering all those years that the Belgian reigned with so many wins. He was and is a great, great champion and above all a marvellous person.
Raymond Ceulemans won in his illustrious career 35 world titles, 48 European titles and 61 Belgian titles. He reigned in the era after René Vingerhoedt, his great example, with an overwhelming power. He grabbed his first world title in three cushion in 1965 in Neuss before Johann Scherz from Austria and Enrique Navarre from Argentina.
Thereafter Ceulemans was crowned as the world's best eleven times on a row. He won his last world title in the final days of his career in 2001 in Luxembourg before Marco Zanetti and the Mexican Luis Miguel Avila.
The Belgian in recent years only plays for teams in Belgium and the Netherlands, but he's still everywhere where he is asked as the fabulous ambassador and promoter of billiards.
We - from the Kozoom team - met him during five days in Gandia (Spain), where the duel between Frédéric Caudron and Dick Jaspers was played in the Juanjo Trilles Challenge. We watched him with a great admiration, how he didn't miss one carom, high in the stands with his lovely wife Angèle. How he spoke full of fire with the players between the sessions, always inspiring and without preference for one of them.
And we always heard his Master's voice, in a continuous admiration: ,,Beautiful, beautiful," each time one of the two players had made a great carom.
In the late hours of the days, we gathered around the swimming pool, listening to te fabulous stories, his adventures, like he told about in the Golden book about the world championships three-cushion.
I spent hours with him in the Mr. 100 in Lier, where Kurt, his son and occasionally Koen, his other son, continue the Ceulemans years in this Billiards palace.
Raymond spoke about his triumphal procession through major cities such as Buenos Aires, Tokyo, Las Vegas, La Paz, Cairo and Antwerp. ,,I was a killer, a player who would hang in till the bitter end and never give up without winnen.''
The anecdotes about all his titles never get boring, like that one about the final under the bleachers of a football stadium in Lima. The Japanese Suguimizu, who was naturalized to Peruvian citizenship, was Ceulemans' opponent. ,,I was so much stronger than he was: he never stood a chance. And because the disappointment in the stands was so great, the supporters suddenly began to throw small pillows at us.''
He played the Argentine Carlos Friedental in a World championship match of all against nothing. ,,I blow him off the table, won with a score of 50-7 and because the scoreboards had three digits, it said: Carlos Friedenthal 007. That's how he got his nickname: James Bond.''
Raymond Ceulemans, the all times champion, today celebrates his 75th birthday in a very good health. He looks relaxed, has done a slimming cure and life is laughing at him. done and life smiles at him. ,,We have to enjoy life as long as we can'' he said recently, when his best friend Herman Jacquemijns suddenly passed away. ,,Herman gave me a wise lesson in life, once in a while. Raymond, he said to me, we should enjoy each and every day. We don't have to become the richest people in the churchyard.''
,,We all hope, especially on this glorious day, that the greatest champion ever still will be in our midst for many, many years.
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