Coel Matthias, "National Youth Champion of KBDB (2004)"

18 years old Matthias COEL from Rotselaar

Matthias was born on 12 October 1986 and studies commerce. He started racing pigeons in 2000, which means that he has been doing this hobby for only 4 years and he already made it to a National Youth Champion. Nobody from his immediate family races pigeons, so Matthias had to find out about all the aspects of this sport by himself. And, indeed, his first experiences were not so fortunate. In the first pigeon club in the region of Leuven, where he went to basket, he received a rather smalend welcome. What is this 14 year old kid doing here?

His firs pigeons come from  Hubert Laporte, a cousin of his father Wim and following the advice of Frederik Sterckx he chose the "Sans Peur in Herent" club. He felt there like at home and soon earned himself a name  "De Kleine" – The little one. And soon enough the gossip had it that The Little One was doing a good job.

Father Wim became the chauffer as of the first day and that is how he also ended up in the "Sans Peur" club in Herent.  They soon noticed that not everything there has developed with the progress of the time. Father Wim became a member, later on the chairman and also the brain behind the modernisation of this club. I just a few years this club was built up to a most blooming club in the country. “Father has brought a modern spirit into the old pigeon sport” says Matthias. 

At school, Matthias told his friends about his hobby and some of them even came to take a look but it is not easy to get the youth interested in pigeon racing. He gave a speech about it when he was 14 and all of his classmates were very impressed that the pigeons can find their loft…but that is where it ended for most of them. It is easy to talk about the necessity of promoting pigeon racing but it is not so easy to do. It is almost as if it was a strong calling. If you just look at the youth champions, there are so many attractions fighting for the attention of today's youth. That we cannot deny. 

The Coel family is a family of true animal friends. The oldest brother Arnout (student of Mathematics), has built up a small ZOO with inhabitants from birds through chicken to 2 donkeys. The older sister Evelien, who studies criminology, likes to take it easy and she has limited herself to turtles.

Conditions for the National Youth KBDB Championship
The National Youth Championship: exclusively for fanciers between 7 and 25 years ( years of birth between 1998 and 1980). The fanciers have to be able to prove that they practice the sport on a completely independent basis and that they are not overtaking an already existing loft.

Candidates for a youth championship have to win with their first nominated pigeon on 5 widowhood flights, based on the fancier's choice, with a total distance of minimum 500 km. All these flights have to take place in the period between May 1st and August 22nd. 
Only one widowhood flight per weekend, with a minimum participation of 100 pigeons and 10 fanciers per flight (widowhood flights held in week an a fair or a celebration of a national holiday don't count) will come into consideration.

Prizes that brought Matthias the national title


Liberation place

Number of participating pigeons

Prize for first nominated


Ring number





































All these top prizes were won for a loft that consists of three parts (see picture). Young pigeons from the middle part of the loft are coupled with the old pigeons, who live in the left and right part.  Old pigeons as well as young pigeons are raced on sprint competitions. It is again a proof that one doesn't have to have a luxury hotel to have pigeons with good performances. “The advantage of this is that sometimes you can race the same pigeons 3 to 4 times in the week for a good nest position”, says our young champion.  

The voliere with 3 separate parts, where all the “rockets” of the National Youth Champion live

Several interesting results:
2001: 2nd champion young pigeons Sans Peur
1st  Youth criteria Flemish Brabant from Bourges (1st  first nominated in the youth category) - two “first prizes” sprint
4th  national from Limoges yearlings against 23,661 pigeons.
2002: 1st champion sprint yearlings Sans Peur Herent and four “first prizes” sprint.
Fleurus 17/03 117 pigeons  1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 15, 25, 33 (10/13).
Fleurus 24/03 87 pigeons  2, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 13, 14, 18, 25 (10/13).
Momignies 04/07 321 pigeons 3, 5, 8, 14, 106 (5/5).
Blois 13/07 3.581 pigeons 6th provincial
Momignies 31/08 184 pigeons 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9.
2003: 8th champions “Tussen Demer en Dijle” Long Middle distance old pigeons – eight “first prizes”; five in sprint, three in the long middle distance,
Momignies 02/07 172 pigeons 1, 3, 10 (3/3).
Chrono-flight Momignies 23/07 1, 10, 31 (3/3) out of 97 pigeons.
1st National Youth Championship KBDB
1st Provincial Champion Short Sprint Young Pigeons  KBDB.
1st champion Short Sprint Youngsters Sans Peur Herent.
1st champion Long Sprint Youngsters Sans Peur Herent.
3rd champion Extreme middle distance Yearlings Sans Peur Herent.
1st Ace pigeon Short Sprint Youngsters Sans Peur Herent.
1st Ace pigeon Long Sprint Youngsters Sans Peur Herent.
1st Ace pigeon Long Halve Long distance Yearlings Sans Peur Herent.
1st Ace pigeon Long  Halve Long distance Old Pigeons Sans Peur Herent
1st Champion Sprint France Young Pigeons  Het Nieuw Verbond .
1st Champion team racing Long Middle distance Sans Peur Herent.
(Team with VanHorenbeeck L&C (1nat Vichy 2003 youngsters)).
Yellow T-shirt in the Youth club of Sans Peur.
2 rankings (approximately till July) Golden pigeon sprint.

15 independent first prizes (no doubles)

Several champions :
Two pigeons that came into attention in 2004:

2182301/2003 Eight prizes on Long Middle distance out of which 6 per 10!

Momignies 3-7-04 1 375 0,266667.
Momignies 10-7-04 1 352 0,284091.
Momignies 21-8-04 1 260 0,384615.
Momignies 14-8-04 1 231 0,4329.
Momignies 16-5-04 1 161 0,621118
Momignies 20-5-04 2 365 0,547945.
Momignies 11-9-04 2 275 0,727273.
Momignies 7-8-04 3 272 1,102941.
Momignies 25-8-04 3 198 1,515152.
Momignies 15-5-04 3 137 2,189781

6470700/01 ( Ras Ceulemans) in 2001: 17 prizes among them also Bourges 218/42763 national
in 2002: 15 prizes among them also two “first prizes”

4361236/01 (Direct Gyselbrecht Knesselare).
The father: 4361722/2001 (thus from the same year 2001)
son of King Junior x daughter Catrysse-Junior Marathon
The mother: 9428884/1994 – Strong Vanderwegen direct A&L Vanderwegen

in 2003: two Long distance flights flew and both per 10
07/06 Angouleme: 9/225 local and 24/776 provincial
04/07 Barcelona: 769/11,806 national

2200738/02 (own breeding). In 2003: two consecutive weeks the first one in the “Tussen Demer en Dijle” on Long Middle distance

09/08 Argenton: 1st/108 local (with only one pigeon racing) 3/423 provincial
16/08 Bourges 1st/69 local 8/306 provincial

The chicken make sure than no fallen grains will be lost

The Q&A,
Matthias, how did you become a pigeon fancier?
I did athletics before, but in 2000 most of my friends, who were a year older had to go to a different category and I was left kind of alone. That is why I started to look for another hobby. We had some pigeons at home, those really heavy “soup pigeons”. I always liked to observe them. And I got the idea to start racing them. But of course the pigeons we had were not suitable for racing. My father's cousin, Hubert Laporte, heard that I was interested in pigeons and he provided me with a basket full o youngsters.

And how did it go in the beginning?
It is always difficult to start with a new hobby. We really didn't know anything about it. Luckily, I pretty soon got to know Frederik Sterckx, a  70-year old strong racer. He explained to me everything and I always could turn to him when I had any questions. Even now I go stop by his house about 2 or 3 times a week. It is also thanks to Frederick that I came to Sans Peur.

Sans Peur is not really a small club, can you mingle in as a newcomer?
The reception there is very good, but of course concerning the sport it is a little bit more difficult. Looking back, it was a very good thing to begin right there. You immediately get to test your pigeons against the greatest racers. As a result, you also have to select your pigeons against the greatest racers. The stricter the selection, the better for the future.

Could you start racing for prizes early on?
Racing for prizes went quite well. My first year I started racing in the middle of the year, so it was almost impossible to make a prize. Already being listed was great. The first complete year was not bad: prize on a regular basis, even three first prizes and a fourth national on Limoges yearlings.  

4th National on Limoges? In your first complete season? How did you manage that?
Those were my first long distance flights. I let my couples sit on their nests. I let my hens race and lost three of them, among them also a hen that was coupled with the cock, who later on would fly fourth national. The cock than had to take care of his youngsters for two weeks. So without realizing it, I had a pigeon, that was very motivated when I basketted him with a youngster between three and four weeks old.

That is a big entry into the world of long distance. Is that your favourite area?
I don't really have a favourite area. Or to put it otherwise, I like to race all distances. We can race a pigeon from time to time on long distance flights, but it takes some time until you can build up a real long distance team.

In fact, I am an “all-racer” and I would like to stay that, despite the fact that many people say that I will have to make a choice eventually.

But to race all distances means also having lots of pigeons?
That is the reasoning that everybody seems to believe in, but I think it is wrong. I think that it has to be just as possible to race all distances with a limited number of pigeons. It is not the number of pigeons that allows you to win a race, but it is the quality of several pigeons.

What does the situation look like now?
We raced sprint with a small group of late youngsters from last year and with five youngsters from this year. But also that group of late youngster was thinned very quickly and drastically. In fact, I only need about three really good sprint racers. The rest of them you just kind of drag along.

I race the middle distance with 8 cocks and 8 hens on double widowhood. And for the long distance I had this year also 8 cocks and 8 hens on double widowhood, but that was disappointing. In 2005 I'm going to try it with 16 couples on nests.

Do you have any tips and tricks for beginners?
Experiment a lot. Don't believe in everything that is being said, but dare it try it yourself. But also give a fair chance to what you are testing. Don't change the system every week.


 The loft of long middle distance pigeons. In this category 8 cocks and 8 hens are raced on complete widowhood. 


This is the loft where 16 couples will be raced on the nest.
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