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Carom Billiard - 3-Cushion - Belgian Cup - Hooglede (BEL)

Reginald Depoorter (77), founder and still organiser of the cup

Posted by on May 15, 2014

Reginald Depoorter (77), founder and still organiser of the cup

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Reginald Depoorter, organized by Kozoom before the Belgian Cup final

HOOGLEDE - The last day of preparation, the billiards (Verhoeven) have been placed already, the stands have been built. Ready for take off. On Friday and Saturday, Reginald Depoorter, 77 from St. Amandsberg, President of the Belgian billiard federation and organizer of the Belgium Cup, will welcome all 64 players, remained after a long series of preliminary rounds. De Gouden Zonne in Hooglede prepares for battle with the entire Belgian top, both at the match and the small tables.

Peter De Backer defends the cup he won last year, Frédéric Caudron, Eddy Merckx, Roland Forthomme, Eddy Leppens, Jef Philipoom, Peter Ceulemans and some outsiders are the contenders for the final win on Sunday (18th of May).

The Belgian Cup is unique in its kind: it was once an initiative of Reginald Depoorter, in the years that Werner Bayer organized his World Cup tournaments, starting off with amateur players who payed for participation in the qualifying rounds.

Reginald Depoorter: ,,We didn't have any tournaments in Belgium, around 1988, in which one could win prize money. I thought that the Bayer formula could be copied, but in a smaller form. We asked one hundred francs (now five euros) to participate and there were a thousand participants in the first years. They had to play qualifying rounds to come to 64 in the final round.''

This formula still works. For this year's Belgian Cup battle, 700 players play the preliminaries, both at the match table and the small billiard. Of these, 64 play in the final rounds this weekend, 32 match table, 32 small table.

Reginald: ,,The tournament was played in the casino in Ghent in the first years. When the casino turned into a museum, we could no longer organize there. We tried in a sports center, but it didn't work.''

The Belgian Cup is now played in de Gulden Zonne for the 17th time in a row. ,,We moved to Hooglede, when the center had been built here and we also wanted to organize a World Cup in this room. That worked out perfectly: the billiards were placed here for the World Cup (four years) and we continued with the Belgian Cup.'' In the last World Cup, the final was played between Jaspers and Blomdahl.

The qualifying rounds for the Belgian Cup start in September and it's like in football: the groups are composed by drawing, first in the districts to sets of eight, later in the region sets of 15, ending up in a selection with 128 players, who are seeded for the national rounds. Then there is one final tiebreaker to come up to 64 players.

Depoorter: ,,The beauty of the cup is, just like in football, that 'minor players' can meet the big guys. The farther you come, you may have a chance that Frédéric Caudron comes to your billiard local.''

Frédéric Caudron is the record holder in the Belgian Cup history with seven victories. Paul Stroobants won the first two tournaments in 1989 and 1990. Raymond Ceulemans won twice in 1992 and 2001.

Davy van Havere and Peter De Backer were more or less the surprising winners in the last two editions.

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