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Carom Billiard - 3-Cushion - World Championship - Bordeaux (FRA)

Dani Sánchez, golden crown on a spectacular WC

Posted by on November 20, 2016

Dani Sánchez, golden crown on a spectacular WC

© Ton Smilde/Kozoom
The podium at the World championship with Dani Sánchez, Haeng-Jik Kim, Semih Sayginer and Eddy Leppens

BORDEAUX - The experience, the fighting spirit and often-praised technique of Dani Sánchez have given the diminutive Spaniard his fourth world title. Some 800 spectators in the Palais des Congrès in Bordeaux watched how the 42-year old from Barcelona beat young Korean Haeng-Jik Kim in the final: 40-37 in 19 innings. With this victory, the Spaniard rises to the third position on the world ranking list. The tournament in the French wine city came to a close with a final that saw a European figurehead take on a young Asian contender who already has a big reputation.

A miraculous escape against Belgian Leppens in the semifinal opened the door for Sánchez, to win the world title. He completed the mission in the final against Haeng-Jik Kim, the Spaniard always in control, reaching the highest step on the global podium for a fourth time, following Rezé (1998), Lugo (2005) and Sluiskil (2010).

,,It's impossible to compare those titles, I was at my best in Lugo, in front of my own crowd, in Sluiskil against Eddy, I had to make up for the loss of the first two sets'', Sánchez commented. ,,This tournament too, in Bordeaux, was a hard fight and a victory over myself. I am no longer just a billiard player, I am now also a businessman. It's hard to believe for some people, but I rarely find the time for practice. It makes me extra happy to win this title. I am back in the top three of the world, that is a great feeling.''

Haeng-Jik Kim, four time world junior champion, who had a brain stroke in 2013, played his first senior world championship in Bordeaux. He underlined his comeback with the Asian title, and is determined to be amongst the best internationally. ,,I hoped to make it throught the qualifications here, but I never thought I would make it to the final, in my first senior WC.''

Dani Sánchez is the 69th world champion in the history of 3-cushion. He started the final with a tournament average of 1.960, Haeng-Jik Kim even had 2.061. Both close to the world record average in a WC, played by Torbjörn Blomdahl (2.020). The Swede was also the youngest world champion in history (24 years and 195 days), Dani Sánchez was 30 days older when he won for the first time, Haeng-Jik Kim during the final in Bordeaux was another five days older.

Dani Sánchez, the joy after he won the world title

Dani Sánchez, who started off beating Robinson Morales in the main draw, then Jae-Ho Cho, Eddy Leppens and Haeng-Jik Kim in the final, ended with a 1.983 average, with Haeng-Jik Kim on 2.043. Marco Zanetti, in fifth place, had the best average of all: 2.135. Haeng-Jik Kim played a superior semifinal against Semih Sayginer, who saw the Korean get out of the blocks quickly (10-0 in 2) and could not get back in the match.

,,From the very start it felt as if things were not going my way. He played well, and took full profit. Still, I am happy with my performance here, I have shown that I am back and that I can compete on a high level'', said the Turk, who had eight open innings in his 16-inning match against Kim. The Korean excelled with a mighty run of eleven to finish: 40-18 in 16.

Dani Sánchez escaped against Eddy Leppens with a run of eight, and when the match was over he stayed in his chair as if he was an empty man. The Belgian had two chances to end it, from 39-30 and then from 39-32. The first time, he had overlooked a kiss and the second was a tricky shot, misjudged by a millimeter. ,,I missed but left an almost impossible shot for Dani'', analyzed Leppens later. Sánchez found a solution with a world class hit, a rail-first draw shot with maximum reverse english. His last seven points were greeted by waves of applause from the stands: 40-39 in 24 innings.

Dani Sánchez shows the gold medal for his fourth world title

Two world championships in two years in the vibrant Palais des Congrès brought in thousands of spectators, lots of sponsors, federation representatives from many countries and an enthusiastic atmosphere in the crowd. Especially in this second edition, the level of play was extremely high from the get-go.

The averages were often around or over 2. Semih Sayginer had the best match of the tournament (40 in 10 innings), in the group stage. Eddy Leppens recorded the high run: 18.The top four of the world had already been eliminated before the prizes came into view. Torbjörn Blomdahl was beaten by Marco Zanetti, Frédéric Caudron tripped over Jérôme Barbeillon in the group, Dick Jaspers was eliminated by Eddy Leppens and Eddy Merckx lost against Jae-Ho Cho.

The final sixteen was a bit more diverse than last year. Three Turks made the main draw, Belgium, Korea and Colombia all had two. Jérôme Barbeillon of the host country played a major part with his place in the quarterfinals, where Semih Sayginer ended his hopes.

The world ranking list after this WC is again headed by Frédéric Caudron, even though the Belgian did not make it to the last 16. Torbjörn Blomdahl lost both his world title and his nr. 1 position, he drops out of the top-3, now consisting of Caudron, Jaspers and Merckx, so three players from the Low Countries.

Kozoom-director Xavier Carrer: The market is in motion

Kozoom-director and founder Xavier Carrer expressed his satisfaction with the organization, the turnout of spectators and business guests from the world of billiards. ,,We had some 4000 spectators last year, this year maybe even 5000. That was the main goal of this organization. We have created an interaction between spectators and players, we have seen beautiful matches with lots of highlights and emotion. That is what billiards needs, but at least the market in now in motion. The next mission is to even better involve the media, and to create opportunities for congresses, as we did here in Bordeaux. I am very happy and satisfied with my organization.''

UMB-president Farouk Barki, in his summary: ,,This organization by Kozoom has put tremendous pressure on future WC organizations, to reach the same level. The tornament was handled professionally, it was athing of beauty for players and sponsors. All I can say is: Thank you, Kozoom! Thank you, Bordeaux! ''

The UMB (world federation) and CEB (European federation) held their congresses during this event, with the UMB announcing some changes for the World Cups: the top 12 seeds will change into the top 14 seeds from 1 January 2017, and the prize money will be raised further, with 8.000 euro for a World Cup winner.

The CEB mostly spoke about the preparations for the European multi-championship in Brandenburg next year. During the closing ceremony, Farouk Barki announced the WC for junior layers, early December in Hurghada. The regular WC will be held in La Paz, Bolivia next year.

The champagne, the applause and the admiration for the winner

The bronze medal winners: Eddy Leppens and Semih Sayginer

The final result of the WC in Bordeaux:

1 Dani Sánchez (Spain) 11-1.983-13
2 Haeng-Jik Kim (Korea) 10-2.043-11
3 Semih Sayginer (Turkey) 8-11-1.618
3 Eddy Leppens (Belgium) 7-1.792-18
5 Marco Zanetti (Italy) 6-2.135-12
6 Nikos Polychronopoulos (Greece) 6-1.670-11
8 Jérôme Barbeillon (France) 6-1.555-10
9 Dick Jaspers (Netherlands) 4-1.964-13
10 Eddy Merckx (Belgium) 4-1.764-11
11 Robinson Morales (Colombia) 4-1.648-9
12 Huberney Cataño (Colombia) 4-1.616-9.

Dani Sánchez beating Eddy Leppens with a great final run

Haeng-Jik Kim, relaxed before the semi-final

Semih Sayginer, the Turkish sultan is back on top

Semih Sayginer, the shot of the tournament came from his cue

Semi-final in a double shot: Kim-Sayginer

Two winners and two organizers after the ceremony: Dani Sánchez, Xavier Carrer, Bernard Baudoin and Semih Sayginer

Many sponsors and global board members in the Vip stands

The Turkish delegation cheering Semih in the semi-final (right Ryuuji Umeda)

The Korean delegation high in the stands at the WC




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