Tony Lievens (Sint-Laureins, BE) wins first National Bourges against 11,821 yearlings

Tony Lievens, a fairly young fancier, has now won a national victory in the yearling category as well. He won the first prize from Bourges, one of the big classics in the longer middle distance. This is a great boost for our sport!

Tony Lievens and his national winner (left), together with his son and his father Robert (right)

Dirk De Roose, De Vroe-Van Gaver and Tony Lievens, the winner from Brive, are three different fanciers with a top prize in the Belgian Entente that belong to a new generation of successful pigeon fanciers. It is good to see them compete with the older generation of top class fanciers. They are the proof that pigeon racing is a sport with a future!

Tony Lievens takes first prize yearlings

Tony could not believe he had won the national victory in the yearling category. The people in charge of the basketing club from Eeklo called him to ask for the correct time of arrival, because he was a possible national winner. He just couldn’t believe it; he told them he would not even win a first prize in Eeklo. It is a fact that he was ranked sixth in Eeklo according to the registrations by telephone. However, his pigeons have to cover a much longer distance compared to most other fanciers in the club. That is why he did not expect to win a first prize in the club in Eeklo, let alone a first prize at national level. He clocked his national winner at 14:01’33”, completing 468.253km with a velocity of 1412.31 m/min. It was the second fastest of all basketed pigeons. It was a close race; he had a narrow five second lead over the pigeon of Kati Lippens from Izegem, which was initially expected to win the first prize in the yearling category. Tony had basketed almost his entire team of widowers for Bourges with 8 old birds and 11 yearlings (five prizes with 11 birds). It was his fourth nominated yearling that took a spectacular national victory.  

The winner of the First Nat. Bourges yearlings BE12-4165052 is a summer youngster from 2012 who did quite a few sprint races in his first season, as well as two shorter middle distance races from Angerville before taking the national win from Bourges, his first important test. He had already won five prizes from Arras (including a second against 68 birds and an eighth against 182 birds), two from Clermont and two from Angerville, without winning any other top prizes. So this national first prize was his first top performance!

His pedigree indicates that he originates from a pigeon family of prize winners.
Sire: BE11-6000761 Vandenabeeledoffer
Purchased at the breeding loft Natural, a Gaby Vandenabeele pigeon.
Dam: BE11-4067943 Kweekduivin 943
Was bred from the cock BE08-3012747 (from a crossing of Jacques Vandenheede  x Jos Thoné) x BE10-4184261, a hen from their own loft.

Tony (27) comes from the East Flemish town of Sint-Laureins between Eeklo and Maldegem, near the Dutch border. About ten years ago he got involved in the sport when a lost pigeon landed in his parents’ garden. His neighbour Antoine Polfliet was a fancier and he asked him what to do and how to take care of it. He gained an interest in pigeon fancying and eventually he became a fancier himself. He was assisted by his father Robert, he got fascinated as well. Today Robert helps his only son Tony whenever necessary. Robert is a 62 year old farmer and he helps taking care of the pigeons, he trains and baskets the birds and he brings the clocks to the club when Tony (who works as a professional welder) is off to work.

These kind fanciers have tasted victory with an impressive victory from Bourges. This is encouraging for the future and it will probably stimulate them to try to do even better in pigeon racing, their number one hobby. Congratulations, well done!