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Ayako Sakai is really not unknown in billiards

Posted by on October 3, 2019

Ayako Sakai is really not unknown in billiards

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The truth about Japanes player Ayako Sakai: she won bronze medal for the third time

VALENCIA - 43-year-old Japanese player Ayako Sakai, who finished third at the ladies World championships in Valencia this week, following Therese Klompenhouwer and Orie Hida to win bronze together with Sruong Pheavy, certainly is not unknown in women's billiards. We wrote that Sakai was an outsider for the podium, but that was a misunderstanding. Gülsen Degener and Irena Hambalkova, two players who have been in the circuit for a long time, told the story about Sakai's past.

Before Ayako got married and was given the name Sakai, her name was Ayako Maehara. She was only 27 when she played her first Women's World xhampionship, in the first UMB championship in 2004 in Valencis. Orie Hida won her first world title there with 0.717 on average, Dutch Gerrie Geelen was second with 0.579 and the bronze medals went to two Japanese players: Ayako Maehara with 0.716 and Akama Imaizumi with 0.600. Interesting detail: Therese Klompenhouwer was just 21 and finished sixth in her first World Championship with 0.484 on average.

Two years later, in Hoensbroek (Netherlands), Orie Hida took the title again, now with 0.820 ahead of Therese Klompenhouwer with 0.710. Gülsen Degener was third with 0.600 and ... Ayako Maehara with 0.880, the best average of the entire field.

Before that, Ayako Maehara achieved third place in a World Challenge tournament together with Gülsen Degener. The Turkish player knows that after her two World championships, Ayako has been out of the circuit for a long time and gave birth to two sons. This year she returned to the World stage and again Ayako (now Sakai) finished in a nice third place.

Orie Hida told us today during a stopover in Amsterdam: ''In ten years that Ayako has not played billiards, she had physical problems. But now her two boys are growing bitter and she suffers no more pain. She's married to Nobuyasu Sakai, together they have a billiardroom. And now she has returned to billiards."

Only four ladies won the Japanese ladies title in history: Orie Hida, Katsumi Hida, Yuko Nishimoto and Ayako Sakai.

Thanks to the ladies Degener, Hambalkova and Hida for this information.


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