Interview with Belgium's best – Wendy Jans

20:36:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

Wendy in action
If someone put the words snooker and Belgium in the same sentence, many would automatically think of prodigy Luca Brecel or the experienced Bjorn Haneveer, but here’s something that not many people know about snooker in Belgium: the fact that this beautiful country has a very talented and ambitious female snooker player.

Her name is Wendy Jans and she is one of Belgium’s best exports, snooker related.

Born in 1983 in Bree, Belgium, Wendy discovered snooker at an early age by playing it at her parents club.
“It was curiosity.”, says Wendy remembering those early days when she and snooker met for the very first time. “I was just a kid and I wanted to play with different colour balls, but the more I played, the better I’ve became and that’s why I’m still doing it today.”

Ramona: I think that not many people know that you also play pool. How do you find the transition from snooker to pool? Isn’t it hard? I mean, the table and the balls are smaller, it’s a different approach than the one you use on snooker … how do you manage to do them both?

Playing pool
Wendy Jans: “I don't play pool anymore, only a few tournaments during the year that's all. But for me the transition was easy. I’ve had no problem playing both games. But I do know that there are some players who find it difficult.”

Ramona: If you would have to choose between snooker and pool, what would it be?

Wendy Jans: “Snooker. Because I play snooker since I was a kid and I like the game more than pool. Pool I also like, but in a different way.”

If one took the time to glance at her achievements in snooker, that person would definitely be impressed. She’s practically won every tournament in the book and in 2006 she was world champion of the IBSF World Ladies Championship. Wendy beat Norway’s Anita Rizzuti 4-1 in the quarter-finals, then whitewashed New Zeeland’s star Ramona Belmont 4-0, only to see her doing it again to China’s In Wan-Ip in the final, 5-0. It was a spectacular victory that Wendy confessed she would gladly repeat, because she was thrilled with it.

Among her other achievements you can see that she won the EBSA World Ladies Championship no more than six times, being a runner-up for the same event also for six times (which is pretty awesome because this means that when she didn’t lift the trophy, she was a finalist!), she made her home country proud by being its champion nine times ( five times on a row: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004), and came very, very close to win a WLBSF World Championship, being a runner-up four times and a semi-finalist three times.

Ramona: Last year, you and Norway’s number 1, Anita Rizzuti, were invited to take part at the 2010 World Open Qualifiers along with the heavy names from the business. How was that like?

Wendy with her 2006 IBSF Ladies World title
Wendy Jans: “I enjoyed the World Open and playing against the men. But I received the invitation very late so I wasn't really prepared for it. The tournament was late August and I hadn't played the whole summer.”

Ramona: Belgium has a history with snooker and last season, one of the PTC was held there. (EPTC 2 from Bruges to be more precise). Luca Brecel and Bjorn Haneveer are two of Belgium’s greatest snooker players, but what about the female players? Why do you think there isn’t as much publicity for the girls, as there is for the boys?

Wendy Jans: “I think we (girls) have never really given the chance. There are not many ladies tournaments and the money prizes aren’t too great, so all the ladies have to go to work to make a living.”

Even more reason to admire her performance in the game and to try and ask ourselves why in the name of God snooker female players aren’t valued as they should be. I’ve witnessed so many confrontations over the internet, many people saying that female snooker is not competitive enough due to the fact that girls aren’t as good as the boys are. Well, pardon me, but I couldn’t have heard a stupidest thing in my life!

Wendy Jans has dedicated her entire life to this lovely sport, she respects it and gives it 100%. Her list of winning titles speaks for itself. But there are many more names like Wendy all over the world, names that need our support and maybe need a Barry Hear to revolutionise the organization scheme.

Still, the first thing that needs to be changed is the people perception towards this part of snooker, because that’s where problems come from.
I was curious to know if Wendy has found it hard to complete considering that she is a woman in this men’s world (James Brown’s song: “It’s a man’s world” comes to mind :-P)

Wendy wins the 2010 EBSA Ladies title
“I think sometimes men underestimate the ladies, but once they play against you they start to think different … sometimes.”

When I first visited Wendy Jan’s website, the song that can be heard on the background stuck with me for weeks. “Keep control” is the name of the song and it is performed by a German band called Sono. Then I searched out the lyrics and I was pleased to find a song that expressed so well the battle that a snooker player has to do with himself; the confidence issue, the problem of focusing on the main goal, the strength of character. All these need to be kept in control.

Wendy Jans knows how to do all that and she does it with grace and an easiness that’s absolutely stunning. An eternal admirer of players like John Higgins, Neil Robertson or Judd Trump, Wendy has made her way towards success so many times and she is still what we call a youngster so we’ll definitely be hearing a lot more about her.

I remember last year EBSA World Ladies Championship that was held in my country. I was fortunate enough as to assist a couple of matches that Wendy played in and to see her crowned at the end of the competition. It’s really amazing to see her so focused and so determined to win and then, at the end of it, with a huge smile on her face. That’s actually the thing that draw my attention, the fact that she really enjoys what she’s doing and the positive attitude she has towards the sport.

Ramona: If you would have to start all over again, would you still pick snooker as your favourite sport?

Wendy Jans: “Would do it all over again. I have had a great time and got to see a lot of the world at a young age.”

This concludes our journey about Belgium’s best Wendy Jans, so next time when someone talks about snooker in Belgium, don’t forget they have a talented, ambitious and lovely female snooker player that deserves all of our attention, admiration and respect.

To find out more about Wendy Jans, please visit her official website at: