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Carom Billiard - 3-Cushion - European Championship Ladies - Zoersel (BEL)

Therese Klompenhouwer in her best form to win a new European title

Posted by on May 11, 2022

Therese Klompenhouwer in her best form to win a new European title

© Longoni
Therese Klompenhouwer, the best in European ladies billiards for many years

HALLE ZOERSEL - The billiard-arena in Danielle le Bruyn's cafe, one of the coryphées of women's billiards, opens its doors for the European championship three-cushion billiards for ladies this week (13-15 May). Therese Klompenhouwer from the Netherlands, the eight-time European champion, defends her title in a field of 23 players. The main prize is 1,000 euros, the runner-up receives 500 euros. The main rivals for Therese Klompenhouwer, who is also the four-time world champion and the undisputed favorite for another European title, come from the Netherlands, Turkey and Belgium. The 1000 euro prize money euros is not the main motivation for Therese Klompenhouwer, one of the few full-professionals in the company of European ladies, to add the tournament to her palmares. ''The amount for the winners could go up, especially now that we are competing with 24 players'', says Therese, who has shown a brilliant form in the matches she played in the past few weeks.

Kozoom spoke extensively with the world and European champion about the upcoming European Championships, the opposition, the developments in women's billiards and the contact with former world top players.

Kozoom/Frits Bakker: So actually, the European top women's players, for years the same faces, are no real threat for you to win another European title?
Therese: It's even difficult to speak of the top of ladies billiards, because I think Karina Jetten, also from the Netherlands, is the strongest one who comes after me. The rest of the field is very close together. I always hope for a bit of progression and growth from my rivals, but that hope is often vain.

Kozoom/FB: Aren't the Turkish ladies, like Müjden Karakasli and Arzu Gök a bit closer these years? And for example Jaimie Buelens, the Belgian champion who played a very strong final in her country?
Therese: Those are certainly ladies who have a chance for a podium place. Arzu Gök is the Turkish champion, but still has to prove herself on the European level. And Jaimie Buelens played a very strong match in the final of the Belgian championship. I have won the European Championship eight times in a row, of course I am the big contender again when I look at the line-up. And when I see the numbers two of the last European Championships, they are also here now. Karina Jetten, Karakasli, Degener, Cardoso and Le Bruyn.

Kozoom/FB: For sure it will be a completely different tournament than in the last years, when the women's European Championships were part of the mega-event with all disciplines in Brandenburg.
Therese: I prefer to play tournaments in a bigger arena, but that is a personal preference. It will certainly be a nice event at Danielle's place.

Kozoom/FB: How do you look at the 23 players in the different groups, also in terms of the occupation of the different billiard countries?
Therese: I think this is not a good thing that we play with 5 Dutch players. That is because otherwise they cannot get 24 players. Sure, for the Netherlands it is nice, but for the European Championship it's not. I would like to see as many European countries as possible at this European Championship.

Kozoom/FB: It's a matter of poverty anyway, that there are not even 24 players. The best two of each group move up to the knockouts, but in one group we even have only two players: Gülsen Degener and Danielle le Bruyn. So they get a warm-up without a need to win.
Therese: We just don't get the 24 players, that is a kind of poverty indeed. But let's be honest: in Asia, with its thousands of players, it's not better. The Koreans are playing the championships there, I hardly see any other countries at an Asian championship.

Kozoom/FB: Why is Europe lagging behind so much, especially in ladies billiards, where there is no new talent and the same line-up has been showing up for years? Can you find an explanation for that?
Therese: I don't think you can compare it with Korea for example. Here in Europe more and more billiard tables disappear and in South Korea only new tables and clubs are coming up with thousands. Kozoom/FB Let's also talk about the motivation for young players. Most participants of the European Championships have to pay all the money themselves, or at least a lot. The Dutch ladies are lucky to get paid by the KNBB, the federation. The Turkish players, in their great billiard country, only are payed for the numbers one and two. And look at Jaimie Buelens, the Belgian champion, who plays an European Championship in her own country and who was third in Turkey last year. She says: billiards is my hobby and a great passion, but I have to pay for everything myself. Even participating for this European Championship. She had to pay 125 euros to participate and travels 45 minutes up and down every day. She doesn't get a hotel, she doesn't get paid for food and drinks, so that's what European title race.
Therese: That is one important reason why we are not growing. But also: most of the ladies who play billiards don't have a trainer, lack of possibilities to train, have to invest in everything themselves and work five days a week or have a family.

Kozoom/FB: How did you decide at a certain moment to become a professional player and to put everything on billiards?

Therese: I can live from the prize money, from the tournaments where I am invited and from the sponsors. I used to get an NOC/NSF allowance of 1100 euro per month and an expense allowance. But that stopped in 2010, so now I have to do it all myself.

Kozoom/FB: How did you manage to live as a professional ladies player after the monthly allowance disappeared?

Therese: I had a few hard years to survive, but the last three years I can manage well. I am alone now, without a partner, so I can handle financially. And because of my performance, I get invitations for tournaments, like in Korea. There are good prizes to be won. But in the end, everything comes from my performance on the billiard table. You get nothing when you don't show your qualities. I need a lot of training, the right discipline. I live for my sport and I always want to perform.

Kozoom/FB: And not living too expensive, like going out, holidays, expensive cars?

Therese: That's not too bad, you know. I can go out and I just bought a new car. That's also because I perform well, also in tournaments and matches with the men. If I would not do that, I would earn a lot less. And surely, I must say that the KNBB has always supported me on my way to the top. And now thatr I am at the top, they want to keep me there. The cooperation is very good and nice, it has always been. I'm very happy with that.Kozoom/FB: Do you still follow the ladies who left for the PBA and used to compete for world titles with you? Do you watch a lot of PBA footage? Is it a pity that those players are gone and that there is less competition left? Did you never regret that you did not consider very seriously to make that step to the PBA?
Therese: I don't watch anything from the PBA. Sometimes, I have contact with Orie Hida, but that's all. Of course it is a pity that they are gone, but I can understand the move, especially from the point of view of Asian players. And no..., I have never regretted that I did not take the step myself. I am happy with what I have now and how my life is now.

Good luck, Therese, at the upcoming European Championships.

The groups for the European Championships in Zoersel:

Group A:
Therese Klompenhouwer (Neth)
Céline Jacques (Fr)
Yenny Bajtner (Swedish)

Group B:
Karina Jetten (Neth)
Monika Steinberger (Aus)
Nanna Petersen (Den)

Groupl C:
Estela Cardoso (Spa)
Helga Mitterböck (Aus)
Mirjam Pruim (Neth)

Group D:
Irena Michalkova (Ch.)
Charlotte Sörensen (Den)
Monique Wilkowski (Neth)

Group E:
Jaimie Buelens (Bel)
Katja Titze (Ger)
Joke Martijn (Neth)

Group F:
Marianne Mortensen (Den)
Güzin Müjde Karakasli (Tur)
Magali Declunder (Fr)

Group G:
Arzu Gök (Tur)
Christine Morel (Fr)
Marie-Rose Rouffa (Bel)
Group H:
Danielle le Bruyn (Bel)
Gülsen Degener (Tur)







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