This with the sublime diptych:
- Bordeaux 2007 National ZLU 3.992 p. 1st
- International 7.213 p. 1st
- Narbonne 2008 National ZLU 3.816 p. 1st
Frederik is 31 years old and has been a pigeon fancier since he was 5/6 years old. It all started when he found a cock in the street and a local fancier gave him a hen so that he could begin breeding straight away and Frederik could learn the 'pigeon trade'.
Up until 2003 he raced on a very small scale and the pigeon sport was not really practised as it should be. This only started when comrade and fellow villager, Dees van Kerkhoven had to get rid of his pigeons for personal reasons and Frederik decided to put his best foot forward and take the pigeon sport more seriously. As it happens, he had a fantastic inheritance 'thrown into his lap', now he had to go for it. Dees van Kerkhoven had always been well known in the region as a strong racer, it was a great honour for Frederik that he could continue with a large majority of that colony.
The Narbonne race was not, in contrast to the Bordeaux race last year, a race with a favourable wind. This was at the time perhaps unjustifiably suggested by some of the local fanciers and some reacted rather morosely to Frederik's victory, as if it was a 'lucky shot'. Frederik then quickly made the decision to race the pigeon again a year later to prove that his victory was anything but a chance hit. You have to dare to take the risk!
If we look at the velocity from Narbonne this year, whereby only a handful of pigeons achieved 1000m/m, then we can say that it was a real tough battle. Only the very strong pigeons are seen at the top of the results in such races, and indeed, at the very top stands Frederik, with his 'Dees'. That shut everyone's mouths Frederik had basketted 4 pigeons for Narbonne, but only the 'Dees' had seen his hen beforehand. Because of his busy professional occupation, Frederik hardly had any time to show another hen since he had to leave urgently for basketting. All in all 'Dees' saw his hen for maybe one and a half to two minutes. The remaining 3 Narbonne pigeons clearly appeared less motivated at the start of the race because the 2nd Narbonne pigeon only returned home late Monday afternoon, but she wasn't clocked. Frederik has worked together with his father in their furniture business for 10 years.
Father Leliaert also helps his son Frederik with everything in the pigeon sport, although Frederik always makes the ultimate decisions. Father would never have raced the 'Dees' again, but his son wasn't given the nickname the 'Executioner from Zeeland' for nothing. He spares his pigeons little to nothing. Frederik was given this nickname two years ago when he entered very late youngsters for a 475 km race just 4 weeks after the start of the season. This was followed by a fortnightly or even weekly race of 500-600 km.
That's why the men in the club soon started calling him the 'Executioner from Aardenburg' and later changed it to the 'Executioner from Zeeland', and it is under this name that Frederik is 'known' on the Pipa forum. Frederik is apparently planning to live up to this name because at the time we visited him he hadn't yet decided if he was going to race 'Dees' next year!!?? Whoever still doubts the quality of the small Leliaert colony should take a look at the Barcelona result.
In this Frederik achieved 30th and 49th national against 7.041 pigeons with the same sort of pigeons as the 'Dees', 2 absolute top pigeons! That a relatively young fancier with a small loft of pigeons can present such results is a magnificent advertisement for our beautiful sport. Hopefully it will inspire and encourage other younger fanciers when they see that top results can be achieved if you are motivated enough.