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Jaimie Buelens: Grand Prix to expensive for me


Published by frits bakker

The Grand Prix in Gandia this weekend with 24 ladies

GANDIA - The best European ladies in three cushion are showing up for a Grand Prix in the Spanish coastal town of Gandia next weekend. Therese Klompenhouwer is the clear favorite to win in a field of 24 players. The Dutch and Spanish ladies are best represented with 7 and 6 players. Jaimie Buelens, of the top players, the number 2 in the last European championship in Ankara, is missing. The Belgian is honest: I can't pay, it’s too expensive for me.’’ The Predator Grand Prix 3 cushion, the first of this year, invites ladies to participate. The Grand Prix tournaments are a great initiative of the European federation and Predator. But unlike, for example, in men's World Cups, where seeded players receive money to travel, ladies have to pay all costs themselves. For the flight to Valencia, hotel accommodation, transport, food and drinks, Therese Klompenhouwer estimates that the ladies must pay around one thousand euros. The Dutch, with the best chances to win, can pay the trip with the top prize of 1.500 euros. For other ladies, it is an expensive trip. Jaimie Buelens: ’’We get no compensation, so all costs are for me. And because I have to work hard, such a Grand Prix is not affordable for me. How unfortunate, because of course I would have loved to play here.’’

The Belgian assures that finding a sponsor is not an option. ‘’That would be looking for a needle in a haystack.‘’ She realises that staying away in this Grand Prix will cost her expensive ranking points. ’’I was second at the European Championships, so I’m high in the rankings, but here I have to miss ranking points.‘’ That could deprive Buelens of a chance to be send to the World Games in China in 2025. The number 1 and 2 of Europe, so almost certainly Therese Klompenhouwer and another player, may compete there for the first time in the history of women's billiards. For now, Klompenhouwer is number 1 with 208 points ahead of Charlotte Sörensen with 112,  Estela Cardoso with 110, Jaimie Buelens and Karina Jetten with 92 points.

Therese Klompenhouwer realizes that for a number of Dutch players this is a kind of holiday trip to Gandia, where the tournament venue is 300 metres away from the beach and the temperature is hovering between 25 and 27 degrees this week. Therese: ’’The good thing of these Grand Prix tournaments, of which the second is in Belgium in August, is that you can earn ranking points. So somewhere you are obliged to participate. If you cannot afford it, then you are out of luck and you are duped on the ranking. And for Jaimie Buelens this is very unfortunate, she misses out on points, so actually this is not the best system. But anyway, it's the same for everyone. I also pay everything myself.’’

The Grand Prix will be played at Hotel Gandia Palace. This Friday, 10th of May, is the start of the first preliminary rounds at 9.30 am. Sunday the semi-finals are from 10am, with the final at 4pm. The Spanish federation organizes this Grand Prix Ciutat de Gandia together with the CEB, the European federation. Rainer Selgrath is the CEB in charge. The first eight players in the ranking had the first right to play, then two players per federation and otherwise there is free entry: the first registrants will be admitted.

Six group winners and the top two numbers 2 of the preliminary rounds go to the quarter-finals with 8. In the preliminary rounds to 25 caroms, in the knock-outs to 30. All matches to be seen on Kozoom.

The winner gets 1,500 euros, second 750, third 500, 5 to 8 another 250 euros.

Jaimie Buelens, the number 2 at the Europeans, has to stay at home because of the high costs.