Kevin Hanssens defeated Sybren Sokolowski 7-0 in the final to successfully defend the Belgian National Snooker Championship last month at the Pomerans Snooker Loungebar in Lochristi.
It is the fourth time that 39-year-old Hanssens has claimed the prestigious title. Following his maiden triumph in 2016, he has now won the last three editions in-a-row from 2019 (the tournament was not held in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic).
Organised by the Belgian Billiards and Snooker Association (BBSA), the Championship was first held in 1984. Newly minted world professional champion Luca Brecel has secured this national title three times in the past – he was the youngest-ever winner of the title in 2010 when aged 14-years-old.
Over 90 players entered this year’s edition, with reigning champion Hanssens starting his campaign in the last 32 where he hit a 118 break (this would stand as the competition’s highest) in the opening frame of a 4-0 victory against Joachim Jacobs.
Hanssens – who lives in Lochristi – then defeated Patrick Geysels 5-0 (breaks of 62 and 72) and Tijs Van Puyenbroeck 5-1 (73 and 57) in the last 16 and quarter-finals, respectively. In the last four Hanssens whitewashed 2022 World Snooker Federation Junior Championship semi-finalist Yorrit Hoes 6-0; top scoring with a 91.
Youngster Sokolowski progressed through the other side of the draw to reach the final for the first time. The As-based cueist pipped two-time winner Peter Bullen 6-5 in the semi-finals on the final black ball.
However, the experienced Hanssens proved to be too strong in the title match, as he registered runs of 66 and 60 in a clean sweep. Incredibly, it meant that Hanssens dropped just one frame throughout the entire event.
Other National Titles
Elsewhere on the Belgian domestic scene, several other national snooker championships have been decided in recent weeks.
Wendy Jans continues to command the Belgian Women’s Snooker Championship as he she claimed the title for a staggering 19th time after a 4-0 victory against Anja Vandenbussche in the final.
In the junior categories, Mathias Van Der Meeren defeated Thor Van De Voorde-van Bocxlaer 5-3 in the final for the under-18 title, while Thijs Pauwels denied Hoes by the same scoreline for the under-21 accolade.
In the seniors divisions, Bullen won the masters/over-40 (defeated Alain Vandersteen 5-1 in the final), Vandersteen was victorious in the over-50 (defeated Pascal Tollenaere 4-3 in the final) and Hendrik De Staelen claimed the over-60 (defeated Marc Vandenbussche 3-1 in the final).