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Will Ho Chi Minh's World Cup be come back of prodigal son?

03/29/2024

Published by frits bakker

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Frédéric Caudron left PBA after succesful years

The name of Frédéric Caudron, billiards phenom and prodigal son, is back in the World Cups circuit. The 56-year-old Belgian returns to the traditional world federation, the UMB, which has lifted the suspension of the ex-PBA player and welcoming him with open arms to the World Cup in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. There is a little doubt whether he will actually play there. This Wednesday morning, Caudron underwent major surgery and received two new hips. One day later, on Thursday, he could already return home to recover and get ready for his come-back in his first World Cup since winning his last one in 2019 in the same Ho Chi Minh. Caudron finished on top podium there with Roland Forthomme, Marco Zanetti and Eddy Merckx.

Is Frédéric Caudron himself willing to talk about his return to the UMB circuit? It does not look like for the time being, because the media and federations are not the best friends of Belgian billiards phenomenon. He did post a picture of himself, though, in the hospital bed on his facebook page on Thursday.

The question still remains why Caudron left the PBA so quickly, unexpectedly and with much commotion. He had been the great animator there since the start of the Korean professional tour, promoter of the transition of players to the 'wild tour' and, as one of the first known UMB billiards players, risked a long suspension from the world federation. Never in those early years did an unkind word about the PBA come from Caudron's quiver, but suddenly and after many successes in his years in Korea, love came to an end. And indeed, Caudron left the PBA after many arguments and conflicts about contracts and no payments.

Many big and loyal billiard fans around the world raised the flag on the day his departure and come-back was announced. The same will happen when Dani Sánchez, Semih Sayginer, Jae-ho Cho, Sung-won Choi and other PBA stars will return, because the billiard world craves championships and tournaments with all the top players from around the world. But of course everyone wishes Sánchez, Sayginer, Leppens, Coklu the big money in the PBA, however many Europeans and Americans have now turned their backs on the adventure.

Frédéric Caudron is by far the most famous name to have made this step back. At the World championship for nation teams in Viersen, the rumour first emerged that he has applied by the Belgian federation for a new acquaintance with the world federation where, among other things, he was crowned three-time world champion of three-cushion and won 21 World Cups. On Monday 20 May, of course if recovery from his double hip surgery allows, Caudron will appear in the first preliminary rounds of the World Cup in Ho Chi Minh. It could be that he will do so together with Birol Uymaz, the Turk who also turned away from the PBA. So Caudron may well have to play in these first qualifiers against completely unknown players almost without ranking points.

The two PBA leavers Caudron and Uymaz are expected to quickly climb back up to positions where they can enter a World Cup at a later stage. Now that he returns, Caudron is ranked in the world rankings from number 914th, where players start with 0 ranking points. Caudron is ranked there at number 3140 among others with Spaniards Carlos Anguita and Andres Carrion, also quit the PBA and Turk Birol Uymaz. For the World Cup in Ho Chi Minh, Caudron is 10th on the reserve list among others with Ryuuji Umeda (11th), one of the stars of the last World championship for nation teams, near to him. Amir Ibraimov (1st), Birol Uymaz (3rd) and young Greek Seleventas (35) are also on that reserve list. Usually, around 40 players advance to a place in the preliminary rounds. A total of 121 players are on the reserve list for Ho Chi Minh.

The first wildcard, handed out by the UMB, is in the name of Jérémy Bury. Apart from the 14 seeded players from the world rankings, well-known players in Ho Chi Minh are for now: Robinson Morales, Nikos Polychronopoulos, Tolgahan Kiraz, Glenn Hofman, Ruben Legazpi, Berkay Karakurt, Tran Thanh Tu Nguyen, Thanh Luc Tran, Gwendal Maréchal, Pierre Soumagne, Roland Forthomme, Peter Ceulemans, Jean Paul de Bruijn, Ja In Kang, Burak Hashas, Van Ly Dao, Sergio Jimenez and Takao Miyashita.

The top 14 in the world rankings qualified for the main tournament:

  1. Dick Jaspers
  2. Quyet Chien Tran
  3. Myung Woo Cho
  4. Torbjörn Blomdahl
  5. Eddy Merckx
  6. Jun Tae Kim
  7. Haeng Jik Kim
  8. Marco Zanetti
  9. Sameh Sidhom
  10. Tayfun Tasdemir
  11. Martin Horn
  12. Phuong Vinh Bao
  13. Myeong Jong Cha
  14. Jung Han Heo.

Dick Jaspers, first ranked for Ho Chi Minh World Cup

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