Name: Bjorn Haneveer
DOB: 4th September 1976
Turned Pro: 1993
Highest Ranking: #53 (2004/2005)
Highest Break: 147 (2003 European Championships)
Career Highlights: Regal Scottish Open 2002 Last 16, European Open 2003 Last 16, China Open 2010 Last 32, Six-Time Belgian National Champion
The most successful player ever to have come from Belgium, Bjorn Haneveer is now back on the tour following a two-year absence following the 2006/7 season.
Since his return Bjorn has maintained a consistent level of performance, particularly during the EPTC events which has helped him to establish himself back inside the top 64.
While Haneveer has spent many seasons on the professional circuit, it is on the amateur and international scene where he has enjoyed the most success. As a youngster he showed his promise by winning the Belgian under-16 Championship in 1992 before becoming the first Belgian player to make a 147 four years later.
Though he was to lose out in the final of the IBSF World under-21 Championship to Marco Fu in 1997, by 1998 he had already won the Belgian national Championship on two occasions and following semi-final appearances in 1996 and 1998, he won the European Championship for the first time in 1999 with a 7-0 victory over Welshman David Bell in the final.
Photo supplied by Janie Watkins
Though he could not defend his title in 2000 as he lost out in Scotland, he hit back in 2001 to take his second European crown in Riga and in 2003 made a 147 in the competition before seeing the title go to David John. He also managed to win a gold medal at the 2001 World Games and a bronze medal four years later in the same competition.
More recently he captured his sixth national title in May 2007 with a win over Patrick Delsemme, making another 147 along the way.
Bjorn got off to the best possible start during the 2008/9 campaign as he took victory in the season-opening PIOS event at Prestatyn to put himself in a strong position to return to the main tour at an early stage. Though he failed to repeat this success during the rest of the season, two further runs to the quarter-finals of events four and six were enough to see him finish inside the top eight and so secure a return to the professional ranks for 2009/10.
Bjorn experienced a solid start to the 2009/10 season as he won his opening match in two of the first three ranking events staged.
The Welsh Open however marked a noticeable upturn in fortunes as he defeated both Andrew Norman and John Parrott to reach the third round, before losing narrowly to Anthony Hamilton in a deciding frame. At the China Open he managed to do even better as he managed to qualify for the venue stage thanks to an excellent final round victory over former UK Champion Matthew Stevens.
Bjorn at the 2010 World Championship qualifiers
Though he could not repeat the feat at the subsequent World Championship qualifiers, a third round run there at least ensured that he would not only retain his place on the tour for the following season, but do so by moving up into the world’s top 64 for the first time since 2004/5.
Bjorn enjoyed a solid start to the 2010/11 season as he reached the last 16 of a couple of PTC events before improving to a quarter-final at the EPTC2 event. Bjorn also reached the TV stages of the World Open before losing out to Stephen Hendry, but had at least done enough to retain his place inside the top 64 at the season’s first rankings revision.
From there however Bjorn struggled for results, losing his opening match in four of the season’s remaining five ranking events, his sole victory coming during the China Open qualifiers when he was able to defeat Kuldesh Johal 5-3 to reach the third qualifying round.
Though Bjorn was to lose his position inside the top 64 at the end of the season, he was able to retain his tour card by virtue of his strong early-season performances during the PTC.
The 2011/12 season would prove to be shortlived for Bjorn who following the Australian Goldfields Open qualifiers was forced to withdraw from a number of subsequent tournaments due to a shoulder injury.
Whilst out of action, Bjorn also took the decision to retire from snooker mid-season, his final match coming on home soil at the PTC9 event in Antwerp.