Willebroek resident John Cleymans is Antwerp three-cushion champion: “And now give everything to also become Belgian champion and win the Belgian Cup” (Willebroek)

Willebroek resident John Cleymans is Antwerp three-cushion champion: “And now give everything to also become Belgian champion and win the Belgian Cup” (Willebroek)
Willebroek resident John Cleymans is Antwerp three-cushion champion: “And now give everything to also become Belgian champion and win the Belgian Cup” (Willebroek)
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John Cleymans (with white shirt) and cafe owner Nikky Selleslagh from ‘t Zandhof, John’s billiards room. — © Theo Derkinderen

Bornem, Blaasveld

John Cleymans (53) from Blaasveld (Willebroek) has become Antwerp three-cushion champion. Literally a strong punch, because the man has only been intensively involved in three-cushion for four years. And his hunger does not seem to be satisfied yet because Cleymans also wants to become Belgian champion this year and win the Belgian Cup.

Becoming champion of the province of Antwerp. It was one of John Cleymans’ big billiard challenges this year. “I faced some tough opponents in both the preliminary rounds and the finals. But I succeeded in my aim,” beams the brand new champion. “If I make something a goal, then I go for it. That’s my character. I always say that I should not win, it is up to the opponent to beat me. No, I don’t have any stress before or during a match. Stress is an extra opponent and I don’t want that.”

John has only been playing three cushion for four years. “That’s not that long. I used to play petanque. But I got tired of that and started looking for a new challenge. Today I really regret that I didn’t start playing three-cushion fifteen years earlier. Then I might be playing on the big billiard tables, where the top players also play three-cushion. Because billiards was something that interested me since childhood. I remember imitating a billiard table at home on the table with wooden beams and then hitting marbles with an iron rule, the kind we needed for school. Apparently it was already in me then (laughs).”

Belgian championship

Now that Cleymans is Antwerp champion, he will have to compete against the champions of the other provinces on April 27 and 28. “That will be my next challenge. Become Belgian champion. How am I going to prepare for this? A lot of training in café ‘t Zandhof the last week. The room where I play all my home matches. Yes, that last week before the championship I will spend more time at the billiard table than at home.”

Café owner Nikky provides a separate set of billiard balls for John's matches.

Café owner Nikky provides a separate set of billiard balls for John’s matches. — © Theo Derkinderen

And the Belgian Cup is also on the Blaasveld billiards player’s programme. “I am among the last 32 players in that cup. The final will be completed in mid-May. I’m already dreaming of the double. And champion of Belgium, and win the cup.”

Bornem

The question remains how John ended up from Blaasveld in Bornem to play three cushion. “I love Bornem. This village is very lively and that is why I am there so much. This may be the envy of many neighboring municipalities. And when I ended up in café ‘t Zandhof, I was immediately hooked on that beautiful billiard table. Operator Nikky Selleslagh guaranteed me that the billiard table will always be maintained and even keeps a set of billiard balls aside for the matches I play. That was the deciding factor in making this my billiard room. There are not many cafes in the Willebroek area anymore that still have a decent billiards table and where you can also play three-cushion matches.”

“Do I have a secret to winning a competition? Drink a coffee and smoke a cigar before every match. Then I’m ready to fly.”

The article is in Dutch

Belgium

Tags: Willebroek resident John Cleymans Antwerp threecushion champion give Belgian champion win Belgian Cup Willebroek

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