Etienne Meirlaen (Deurle, BE), following international victory from Narbonne, reaches the climax of 2011 with the title of ‘General Champion Entente Belge’!

A real pigeon virtuoso… that's how we can perfectly describe the international Narbonne winner Old birds 2011 from Deurle Sint-Martens-Latem. The achievements that Etienne Meirlaen managed to perform in the 2011 pigeon sport season prove his great class once again… with the title of ‘General Champion’ by the Belgian Verstandhouding crowning his work!

We left on a (mild) winter evening for the Broekstraat in Deurle, where the Meirlaen family have built up their pigeon emporium. The borough is not called an ‘artists borough’ for nothing, many artists found inspiration along the banks of the Leie. Sint-Martens-Latem (with municipality Deurle) is nowadays known by the general public as one of the richest boroughs of Belgium, proven by the luxuriant villa’s, cottages with luxurious ‘yachts’ on the banks of the Leie. Many famous artists lived there in the past or still have a museum there (Musea Dhondt-Dhaenens, Gust De Smet, Leon De Smet…) or their last resting place (so as Leieschilder Emile Claus, and the well-known author of the ‘Paradijsvogels, Gaston Martens)… writer Cyriel Buysse even lived in the ancient ‘windmill’ of Deurle which he had bought, even though the windmill disappeared just before the truce in 1918 when it was blown up by the German army, after which Buysse had a new but smaller post mill built… which can still be visited. The ‘Latemse school’ was where many artists were taught… although today we can probably ask if there were lessons in ‘pigeon art’.

Etienne Meirlaen would definitely have been one of the best pupils and would have passed with ‘flying colours’… and with him as ‘lecturer’ the auditorium would be filled to the brim. His clear view on the pigeon sport, his insight into pigeons, and his ability to achieve the ‘maximum’ from his pigeons both at breeding and racing level… soon brought him back, after a small ‘sabbatical’, to the highest rungs of the international pigeon sport ladder… and this in the toughest disciplines of our pigeon sport: the national ‘long distance’ and international ‘grand distance’! What has been raced and won from the current location in Deurle- is almost unbelievable… it was a chain of highlights, which finally resulted in ‘national titles’, ‘national Ace birds’… and 2011 was no exception. Let’s role the film with ‘Meirlaen-stars’ again, beginning with the titles out the ‘5-star season’ 2011 :

1° General Champion Belgische Verstandhouding
1° International Narbonne 12.605 pigeons
1° Jan Breydel Marathon
1° Steeple Cup Grand Slam of Belgium
1° Champion National races International long distance club
1° Bony Club NL International
1° Prov Champion Extreme Long Distance  FVOV
1° Prov. Champion Long Distance O.b. and yl  FVOV
1° Long Distance Zwalmvallei
1° Grand Distance Zwalmvallei
1° + 2° Ace bird Extreme long distance Olympiad Budapest
1° Champion Extreme long distance Club der XX
1° General King Long Distance O.b. Club der XX
2° Ace bird Europa-Cup
2° All-Round Champion Belgische Verstandhouding
2° Criterium der Azen Belgische Verstandhouding
3° Champions League o.b.
3° Master Award   Versele-Laga
5° Super Prestige 

An honours list 2011 seasoned with prominent titles, the nicest proof that they have performed very well once again there in the Broekstraat in Deurle-St.Martens-Latem…  and this after the Etienne Meirlaen pigeons have gone through pigeon land like a whirlwind over the last few seasons, partly dominated Belgium in the ‘long distance’ and ‘grand distance’, with at national level titles so as 


1° + 3° National Ace bird ‘Grand distance’ KBDB 2008
1° National Ace bird ‘Grand distance’ KBDB 2009
2° National Champion long distance KBDB 2010
5° National Ace bird long distance KBDB 2010 (with ’t Fenomeen)
Best pigeon of Belgium 2010 over 5 national races (with ’t Fenomeen)
Winner ‘Gouden Vleugel’ 2006 

Who will disagree with us when we say that Etienne Meirlaen was simply the best in our country in the long distance and extreme long distance over the last 5 seasons, in the period 2006-2011. The twist in this success story is that Etienne only started again from ‘nil’ in 2000, and achieving all this in such a short space of time, in the toughest disciplines of our international pigeon sport! Whoever did any better?

After the national Ace pigeons, now international victory

3 years ago Etienne Meirlaen flirted with international victory, in the international Tarbes. When good weather is predicted, Etienne gets out his BBQ whilst waiting for the pigeons from the international races… it was no different for that Tarbes. The faithful waiters joined in this feast… a few bottles of wine coloured this summer evening. Until suddenly… yes, a pigeon appeared much earlier than expected… his name, the ‘Starlight’! Yet he was frightened by the noise of the BBQ-party around the lofts, and instead of diving straight for the trap, he landed further up on the large roof of the pigeon shed… to be clocked 1 minute later after a new lap of honour. When, a short time later, it turned out that with this he had missed international victory by a hair’s bredth and had to be satisfied with a 2nd place (National & Intnat) and provincial victory, it dampened the party spirit a bit. Although new highlights were not long in coming… from the ‘national Ace birds’ in the form of ‘Cor’, ‘Perpignan Lady’. In the meantime there was a new cracker in the form of ’t Fenomeen’, which in 2010 was pronounced best long distance racer of our country over 5 national long distance races. The year in which a new discovery was made when Etienne had a magnificent result  in the national Montauban, resulting in ‘provincial victory’ with the ‘Montauban’… whilst his 2 brothers ‘Montali’ and ‘Monar’ made the success complete. These ‘3 Musketeers’ all have the same mother… the ‘Yelena’, which came from joint breeding with ‘General National Champion KBDB 2011’ Raoul & Xavier Verstraete, with their wonder breeder ‘Topstar’ (father of the 1° Nat Cahors: the ‘Xtra’) coupled with breeding diva ‘Marathonlady’ from Etienne Meirlaen. In 2011 these ‘3 Musketeers’ repeated their stunt from Montauban… although the full ‘explosion’, which engraved the 2011 season in the minds of the Meirlaen family and its entourage for ever, from Narbonne… when in very tough circumstances the ‘Monar’ gave Etienne Meirlaen his first ‘international victory’ of his richly filled career! A ‘Goosebumps moment’ never to be forgotten… something like this goes through the bones, and can’t be described in words… a moment to be cherished forever, you can see it on Etienne’s face, clear afterglow! The performances of these 3 top athletes were described in detail in the international pigeon press, yet we would like to give you the highlights: 

1° Internat Narbonne Oude 2011: de 'Monar'

-‘Monar’ B08-4298283

 1° Intnat Narbonne  13.779 p. ’11 
13° Intnat Narbonne  13.335 p. ’10
52° Nat. Montauban    9.091 p. ’11
571 Nat. Montauban    6.654 p. ’10

1° Prov en 5° + 13° Nat Montauban: de 'Montauban'

-De ‘Montauban’ B08-4298059

 1° Prov Montauban    1.294 p. ’10
 5° Nat. Montauban    6.654 p. ’10
13° Nat. Montauban    9.091 p. ’11

4° + 12° Nat Montauban: de 'Montali'

-‘Montali’ B08-4298110

 4° Nat. Montauban    9.091 p. ’11
12° Nat. Montauban    6.654 p. ’10
314 Nat. Tarbes       4.576 p. ’10
331 Nat. Libourne     8.729 p. ’09
846 Nat. Limoges     16.893 p. ’09

This makes more than clear that Etienne, with super birds so as the ‘Cor’, ‘Perpignan Lady’, ‘Monar’, ‘Starlight, ’t Fenomeen’, the ‘Asduivin’, ‘Yelena’, ‘Marathonlady’, ‘Gouden Vleugel’, and not least the ‘Marseille’ etc… not only has pure ‘breeding gold’ in the lofts, but is also the owner of one of the richest, if not the richest ‘breeding source’ of our country for the ‘long distance’ and ‘extreme long distance’. With this, part of the ‘future’ is secured, certainly with the only unwritten ‘law’ in the pigeon sport in the back of the mind that ‘Ace pigeons’ stem from ‘Ace pigeons’, and ‘crack pigeons’ from ‘crack pigeons’… then Etienne Meirlaen is clearly sitting on a bed of roses here!

And that has been proven in the first results from upcoming talents, bred out of or being direct family of the aforementioned racing and breeding talent… wherefrom we would like to give you a few examples:

-‘Fenomena  676/10’(a sister ‘Fenomeen’), won in 2011 :

52° Nat Bordeaux  6.215 p. ’11
825° Nat Narbonne 7.027 p. ‘11

-‘Super Nationaal Marseille’ 721/05(a son ‘Marseille’):

Won 17/17  in the national races with as highlights 


71° Nat Tarbes    4.818 p. ’11
82° Nat Orange    4.587 p.
47° Nat Tarbes    4.576 p. ’10

His son already won 27° Intnat Narbonne 13.335 p. ’10

He has now been given a well-earned place in the breeding stables Meirlaen! 

-‘Daughter  Old 7 Barca’   4278471/07

60° Nat Perpignan   5.591 p. ’11

Her ‘Nest brother 4278472/07’ won

6° Nat Barcelona   12.170 p. ’11

Her other brother 4298138/08

60° Nat Limoges    19.373 p. ’11
386° Nat Barcelona 12.170 p. ’11

In 2011 their father won, at the age of 9, his 7th prize from Barcelona… his honours list includes a  68° Nat and  84° Nat Barcelona… ‘very strong’ !

-‘Son Gouden Vleugel’950/09

11° Nat Bordeaux     4.866 p. ’11
22° Intnat Bordeaux 10.622 p. ’11
155° Nat Narbonne    6.428 p. ’11

-‘Golden Lady 516’10’

Father is the ‘347/06’ (son of Gouden Vleugel x Marathon Lady), mother is the ‘NL 926/08’ (a granddaughter  1st Nat Barcelona  F.B., direct Cor de Heijde). She performed as follows in 2 international races in 2011 :

14° Nat  Narbonne   7.027 YL ’11
359° Nat Bordeaux   6.215 YL ’11

With this we have given you an idea of the upcoming talent waiting in Deurle to take over the torch in 2012 from the racing team of top athletes, from their illustrious parents, brothers and/or sisters… to carry the Etienne Meirlaen colony to new triumphs within the international pigeon sport… allowing the star above Deurle to shine further on the pigeon firmament! 


Performances 2012 in the national races 


04/06 Limoges Nat  19.373 p.:
     Limoges Club     923 p.: 1-4-6-14-32-37-54-63-67-68-71-82-84-89-92-93 (38/54 per 3)
18/06 Cahors Nat    8.105 p.: 507-531-554-634-1452 (5/5 per 4)
      Cahors  club     259 p.: 17-20-23-27-73 (5/5)
26/06 Montauban Nat 9.091 p.: 4-52-73-131-215-228-288-367-520-781 (11/18 /per 4)
      Montauban  club  291 p.: 1-3-5-9-12-13-18-22-27-41-90 (11/1 per 3) 
02/07 Bordeaux  Nat 4.866 p.: 11-47-74-106-387-446-705 etc… (9/21 / per 4)
            Intern 10.622 p.: 22-63-102-142-558-641 etc …
      Bordeaux  club   188 p.: 2-5-6-9-24-29-37-56-57 (9/21)
02/07 Bordeaux  Nat 6.215 YL: 52-328-359-978 etc. (12/20/per 4)
08/07 Barcelona Nat 12.170 p.: 6-267-386-573-711-813… etc.  (12 pr.  per 4)
      Barcelona club    329 p.: 1-6-9-12-13-18-23-24-25-29-46-49-59-76-78-80-86-92-95-102-108
16/07 Limoges  Nat. 14.686 p.: 97-224-293-936-953-1132-1136-1243 etc.          
20/07 Tarbes   Nat.  4.818 p.: 71-120-749…   ( 7 )
      Tarbes   club     125 p.: 1-2-23-41 (4/7)
24/07 Souillac Nat.  5.667 p.: 203-473-509-679-72… (10)
      Souillac club     316 p.: 7-27-31-42-43-86 (6/10)
30/07 Narbonne Nat.  6.428 p.: 1-79-155-310-356-449-452-487-501 etc. (11/20)
             Intern 13.779 p.: 1… etc
      Narbonne club     210 p.: 1-3-11-20-23-29-30-31-32-53-55(11/20)
30/07 Narbonne Nat   7.027 YL: 14-181-189-231-391-460-491-662-699-825 etc. (15 op 23)
      Narbonne club     211 YL: 2-6-7-9-16-19-20-26-29-37-43-45-53-62-64(15/23)
07/08 Perpignan Nat. 5.591 p.: 60-408-436-644-711-846-867 etc.
      Perpignan  club   139 p.: 1-10-12-13-15-17-20-23-24-31-35-36-37-38-39-42 (16/32)