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Billiards year 2020 marked by terrible COVID crisis

Posted by on December 28, 2020

Billiards year 2020 marked by terrible COVID crisis

© Dirk Acx compilation
Top performers in 2020: David Martinez, Eddy Merckx, Dani Sánchez, Dick Jaspers, Frédéric Caudron

The ranking of top players with the most matches and best averages closed the year in 2019 in which the world and all sports were still in good health. The Belgian star Eddy Merckx had played 134 matches with 1,848 on average. Dick Jaspers came out with 108 games with 1,942 and Frédéric Caudron achieved the marvellous average of 2,139 in 81 matches. The new start was announced with full calendars of World Championships, World Cups, Survivals, PBA tournaments and team competitions. The world was about two months away from the global COVID-19 outbreak, there was no fear to indicate that the pandemic would threaten the entire world and put it all upside down dramatically.

Fright and shock suddenly came up over the world when the tsunami of infections also reached sports and billiards at the start of 2020: the German organization of the traditional World Championship for national teams in Viersen and the UMB announced on February 27, 2020 that the tournament, scheduled from 4-8 March, was cancelled. UMB president Farouk Barki sent the first signs of catastrophe into the billiards world: ''We cannot take any risks and must guarantee the safety of all athletes and fans.'' Two weeks later, with the news of millions of people being infected, the pandemic was recognized officially.

The yearly review composed by Kozoom's monthly reports is ultra-short due to all the cancellations: it starts with the Dutch title for Dick Jaspers, the Belgian title for Eddy Merckx and ends with the inevitable cancellations of World Cups, competitions and the major championships, desperately waiting for better times in 2021.

The overview:

January:

Dick Jaspers beats Barry van Beers in the final match for the Dutch title in the Masters. The stage is completely with Brabant players, John Tijssen and Harrie van de Ven are the numbers three and four. Eddy Merckx is crowned champion in Belgium, silver winner is Peter Ceulemans, who beats the youngest of the dynasty, Bart Ceulemans, in the brothers-in-arms battle in the semi-finals.
Good old Belgian Martin Spoormans (69) is the week's miracle man in the bundesliga: he beats two world top players in one weekend: Martin Horn and Dick Jaspers.
Turkish federation is preparing for a marathon of tournament organizations in Antalya: the European championship for ladies, the European championship for national teams and the first 2020 World Cup. The Dutch KNBB federation also dominates the calendars for later in 2020 with a European individual championship, World Championships for ladies and juniors and a World Cup.
Dutch mega-sponsor Carl Verhoeven announces the arrival of a new billiard stronghold in Uden with a top team in which Jaspers and Merckx are the leading players.
Dani Sánchez gloriously takes Spanish title with 2,409 on average.
Korean Byoung-ho Kim is the winner at the 7th PBA tournament, Spaniard David Martinez is the ranking leader.

Spaniard David Martinez leader in PBA rankings

Korean player Byoung-ho Kim winner in PBA's event

February:

The Dutch ladies play a leading role at the European Championship in Antalya. Therese Klompenhouwer wins the title for the ninth time in a row starting from 2005, she plays 1,240 on average and the best match ever at a women's World Championship: 30 in 13 innings. Karina Jetten, Roland Forthomme's girl friend, takes silver medal in a final that she loses 30-20 in 21 innings.
The Spanish armada captures the title at the European Championship for national teams. Dani Sánchez and Ruben Legazpi beat Semih Sayginer and Murat Naci Coklu in the final match: Dani beats Semih, Murat beats Ruben, the Scotch Double is decisive. Bronze is for Denmark and France.
Dani Sánchez completes the double in Antalya. The four-time Spanish world champion is the best at the World Cup in a final with the world's number one Dick Jaspers, 50-35 in 28 innings. Sánchez reacts emotionally after his victory: ''My father died at the end of last year, I know he helped me from heaven.'' On the podium: Dick Jaspers, Murat Naci Coklu and HaengJik Kim. The World Championship national teams in Viersen has been definitely cancelled due to Corona threat.

Dani Sánchez and Rubén Legazpi take the European team title in Antalya

Therese Klompenhouwer, Europe's best again for 9th time in a row

March/April:

How do young top talents in the world deal with the Corona crisis? Kozoom asked twelve players.
McCreery tournament and other major events are cancelled or postponed. UMB calendar will be slimmed down further.
Jean Paul de Bruijn takes Dutch title in one cushion with 16,75 on average and finishes his last three matches to 100 points in 3, 3 and 2 innings.
The most famous talents in three cushion, with Korean Myung-Woo Cho as an exponent, look ahead in an interview on their career. Young Cho says goodbye to his junior years with three world titles, has to join Korean military service and will have to interrupt his rhythm of 12 training hours every day.
Will team competitions continue to be played? The Dutch league is cancelled, in other countries, like Belgium, Germany and France, the federations have to decide later.
Billiard cafes and clubs under big pressure in times of crisis: the heat is on, some billiard rooms already definitely closed doors.

Young three cushion talents, how to deal with COVID crises

Billiard club owners in Belgium and the Netherlands

June/July:

The PBA/LPBA Tour, the professional Korean organization, announces the new season start on July 6 and consists of 7 tournaments for the upcoming season. PBA is launching a team league in which six teams will show up.
The world federation UMB receives an official notice from the European Commission that Korean professional association has closed PBA charges against the suspensions of players.
Eddy Merckx is the first winner in a series of UMB One Carom Challenges with home-based competitions in these times of crisis.
46-year-old Korean Seong-uk Oh wins the first PBA tournament of the new season in a final against his fellow countryman Seong-youn Jeong.

August:

The undisputed number one on the overall rankings of world titles in three cushion is Raymond Ceulemans with 21 titles, ahead of Torbjörn Blomdahl (11 times number one, 26 times in the top five), Dick Jaspers (7 times number one, 28 times top five) and Frédéric Caudron (6 times number one, 14 times in top).

The world's top three in world titles three cushion: Torbjörn Blomdahl (l), the number one Raymond Ceulemans (m) and Dick Jaspers

September October:

Therese Klompenhouwer secures her 13th Dutch title in the ladies three cushion and increases her total of titles to 25, including European and world titles.
Team competitions in Western countries are gradually resuming, but future is very uncertain and matches are soon cancelled.
23 year old Frenchman Gwendal Maréchal shows his great skills after a 200 days stop. He is the best in a Frenche national tournament playing 1,743 on average and takes the final against Melnytschenko 40-13 in 14, averiging 2,857.
Frédéric Caudron is by far the best in the final against Filippos Kasidokostas in the next PBA tournament with a superior score: 4-0. In the top ten are four other non-Koreans: Kostas Papakonstantinou (Greece), Pedro Piedrabuena (USA), Minh Cam Ma (Vietnam) and David Zapata (Spain).
Dutch organization BEN announces Duke Challenge tournament with the top five in the world. Jumbo is the main sponsor and is known for, among other things, one of the best cycling teams in the world and Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen.
The Dutch federation has to cancel 9000 matches in competitions due to COVID-19 after new measures.
Sruong Pheavy the lady from Cambodia, in a Kozoom interview: from farmer girl to world star.

Frédéric Caudron, by far the best in PBA final with Filippos Kasidokostas

Cambodjan Sruong Pheavy, figurehead and star player in lady's three cushion

November/December:

The Belgians, both players and billiard fans, have to cancel the most wonderful billiard week of the year, the Multi's in Blankenberge. The Jumbo Challenge will be postponed to January 20-22.
Three cushion launches new craze: carbon cue, interview with top players.
Only in Korean strongholds plenty of tournaments are launched in times of crisis.
Asian top players Jae-Ho Cho and Dinh Nai Ngo turn their backs to UMB and leave for PBA.
European top players can finally look forward to a wonderful event after the long stop: the Jumbo Challenge in Uden, which will be played on 20, 21 and 22 January.

New Asians star players in PBA Tour: Jae-Ho Cho and Dinh Nai Ngo

The UMB top twenty in the men's ranking 2020:
1 Dick Jaspers 412 points
2 Marco Zanetti 338
3 Torbjörn Blomdahl 305
4 Eddy Merckx 294
5 Tayfun Tasdemir 291
6 Dani Sánchez 274
7 Quyet Chien Tran 270
8 HaengJik Kim 262
9 Sameh Sidhom 249
10 Myung-Woo Cho 248
11 Semih Sayginer 237
12 Murat Naci Coklu 232
13 Martin Horn 224
14 Jae-Ho Cho 208
15 Jérémy Bury 206
16 Duc Anh Chien Nguyen 201
17 Lütfi Cenet 196
18 Sung-Won Choi 182
19 Jung-Han Heo 167
20 Roland Forthomme 154

Lady's top ten in 2020:
1 Therese Klompenhouwer 255
2 Sruong Pheavy 142
3 Orie Hida 140
4 Ayako Sakai 113
5 Estela Cardoso 107
6 Gülsen Degener 102
7 Min A Kim 100
8 Steffi Daske 95
9 Karina Jetten 90
10 Hyun Ji Yong 84.

 

 

 

 

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