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Are the Jumbo Challenge and the Masters in danger?

Posted by on October 30, 2020

Are the Jumbo Challenge and the Masters in danger?

© Ton Smilde
Harry Mathijssen, Ferry van der Veen and Ad Smout in better days during the last Masters

DEN BOSCH - There are lots of doubts whether the Jumbo Duke Challenge (25, 26 and 27 November) and even the Masters, Dutch three cushion championship (14-17 January), will remain on the billiards calendar. The new growth and developments in the COVID 19 crisis in most of the well-known European billiard countries are putting the two Dutch events under pressure for the coming weeks. Harry Mathijssen and Ad Smout, the organizers, follow the numbers of Corona victims and the imminent measures with fear and trembling. ''We are willing to organize so badly, but we dependend on what happens next towards the events,'' said Harry Mathijssen.

The cautious alternative is that the Jumbo Challenge will move to December, but only when the event must be cancelled. ''I assume that we can play in this setting, which is completely Corona proof.'' The main concern, of course, is whether the players can travel to the Netherlands from their own countries, such as Spain, Italy, Turkey, France, Belgium and Germany. The organizer: ''I am in constant contact with KNBB director Willem la Riviere, who on his turn is in contact with NOC*NSF. And with Ziggo Sport for the planning. The players, like Zanetti and Blomdahl, regularly ask us what the expectations are for the Jumbo Challenge. I will make another round of phone calls these days with the French guys and see how things are in Turkey. These players need at a certificate from NOC*NSF. Dani Sánchez is very doubtful, because of the situation in Spain. I can only say to all those players that we know nothing for now, we are in charge with the authorities.''

Waiting for the new measures to be announced in the Netherlands, especially regarding the organization of events. Mathijssen: ''What is important for us, according to the municipality of Bernheze, which has to report to NOC*NSF, is that we can organize our tournament in a top sports location. Of course, The Duke does not meet the demands. But I know that the European Cyclo-Cross Championship will take place next week on 8 and 9 November in Rosmalen. That's not a top sport location either. And like billiards, it's not an Olympic sports discipline.''

But let's say that the government is preventing the Jumbo Challenge from going on, then it's still a short three months to go until the Masters?
Harry Mathijssen: ''As the rules are now, we will encounter the same problem. The 'Durpsherd', where the Masters must be played, is no top sports location. I would object, if that should be a reason for cancellation. We are willing to organize the Masters without an audience if we should. No matter how bad it is, because the Masters and the full houses are the main guarantee for success.''



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