Western Cape champ eyes national glory

Eye on the prize... Star pool player Elzette Koen is ready to take on the countrys finest.

National pool player, Elzette Koen, from Brackenfell, was crowned the new All Africa Nine-ball Women’s Singles champion at Villain Billiards in Tableview a fortnight ago.

This should be a confidence- booster ahead of her participation at the South African Confederation of Cue Sport (SACCS) Chinese Eight-Ball National Championships in Secunda later this month.

Earlier this year, Koen was a part of the national team that won a silver medal at the World Blackball Championships at the Bridlington Spa, in the United Kingdom.

At the same event, Koen finished in the top five after winning a bronze medal in the women’s singles section.

The star player was over the moon following her selection to represent the province and the country.

“It makes you feel proud to know you have achieved something in life; that your hard work had paid off and all the time and money spent was not for nothing but for something,” she says.

Last year, Koen finished in the top 10 at the World Eight-ball Championships as well as the SA national Blackball Championships.

In 2016, she was crowned the All Africa women’s singles champion in Uganda, while also finishing in the top six, top eight and top 16 at the SA National Blackball championships and SA National Eight-ball championships in 2015, respectively.

“Being a part of the SA team for the world championships was probably the most epic experience I have ever had in pool. Individually I struggled a bit to maintain confidence. The tables are smaller to what we are used to, the pockets are more tighter which requires more accuracy and having this all in mind just made me doubt myself and my skill and ability which affected my performance. But I managed to pull myself together and played the best pool of my life.

“Our team reached the final stages but unfortunately we lost to England 13-11. I think I ended up being ranked 13th in the team event,” she says.

Koen says growing up she relocated quite regularly, which played a role in shaping the champion woman she is today, however, throughout her school years, she excelled in netball, squash and hockey. Koen, a recruitment and selection practitioner at the Western Cape Education Department, says she will “probably play pool until my back and legs can’t hold me up straight”.

Koen says she prefers to play Blackball, because it suits her style of play, which is to play attacking.

“The rules of Blackball makes everything interesting and challenging. I like the fact that you can play combination shots which requires a lot of skill and you are allowed one free shot on a fault where you can either tie up your opponents ball or drop your opponents ball when blocking a pocket, to help you to finish the table.

“I recently started with Chinese Eight-ball and Nine-ball and that in itself is challenging and exciting. So this is the three disciplines I’d definitely play coming next year,” she says.

Koen says her motto is to decide, commit and succeed.

“Keep reaching for the stars, even when it seems impossible. Never give up and never allow your frustrations to get the better of you. Teach yourself to stay calm and collected and be humble. Enjoy the game, live the game.”