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Carom Billiard - Carom - European Championship - Ronchin (FRA)

French talents have future in 3-cushion

Posted by on April 2, 2018

French talents have future in 3-cushion

Gwendal Marechal on main stage in European three cushion under 21

RONCHIN - The star of Gwendal Maréchal shone for the first time on the main stage in a junior European championship. The 20-year-old Frenchman from Lorient, Brittany, won the title in three cushion for players under 21 at the European championship in Ronchin. He beat the reigning European and world champion Carlos Anguita from Spain 30-15 in 22 innings in a superior final. The two other players on stage were the Belgian Stef van Hees and the Greek Dimitrios Seleventas.

The young French players showed that they have a future in 3-cushion at the European stage. The European title under 17 was won by Maxime Panaia for the third time. Panaia is another young star, who played a great final against his countryman Nathan Duriez: 30-10 in 14 innings. Marechal also took that title under 17 in 2014. The 50-year-old French Magali Declunder, a ten-time European champion in free game, won the European ladies' cup, which was played at the same time as the European championship. In the final, Declunder defeated the one-year-older Dutch Monique van Exter 150-26 in three innings after a 103 final run. Magali Declunder was unbeatable in her best years in free game, played averages around 40, 50 on the match table and won, among others, European titles with Monique van Exter and the current European president Diane Wild on stage. At the last European championship, Declunder was defeated by Monique van Exter, who was twice European champion.

Gwendal Maréchal was the star at the Europeans 2018 in Ronchin, near Lille. In the semi-finals he played the best match of the tournament against the Belgian Stef van Hees, whom he defeated 30-7 in 14 innings with a high run of 8. The final was dominated by Maréchal from the break, with Anguita, who did not show his best form, in a shadow role. The Frenchman led 10-3, 18-6 (11 innings), showed his brilliant class with two fantastic bank shots for his 20th and 21st carom and finished 30-15 in 23 without being threatened.

The French home crowd celebrated the victories of Maréchal and Panaia with a long applause. Maréchal, with the French flag on his shoulders, later commented: ,,I am very happy with my first big victory in the juniors. The final match was the crowning glory, because from now on I must leave the junior class. I knew, of course, that Carlos Anguita was a very strong opponent. He was a wonderful winner at the World championships in Spain last year, where I reached the podium. At this Europeans he was not so good and missed a few easy shots in the final match. I could easily break through his defense and hold onto my lead.''

Gwendal Maréchal, who left home very quickly after the final in Ronchin (7 hours by train), is in his first year of a commercial study. He plays billiards from the age of twelve, lives 500 meters from the billiards club in Lorient and trains one hour per day and two hours in the weekends. ,,I have done a few training courses with Jérémy Bury and plan to do that more often in the coming years. My plan is to play a few World Cups this year, in Antalya and Porto. I also hope to find a French team in the main league for next season.''

On the podium at the European three-cushion under 17 was, besides Maxime Panaia, another Frenchman, Nathan Duriez, the Austrian Nikolaus Kogelbauer and the very talented Greek Dimitrios Seleventas, a player whose father is a friend of Filipos Kasidokostas. Dimitrios already debuted as a very young player at the Junior World championship in his own country in 2013.

Maxime Panaia had a minor start in the class under 21 and therefore couldn't qualify for the knockout phase. The Dutch players Michael Vink, unbeaten in the group stage, and Joey de Kok were eliminated in the quarterfinals. In the class under 17, Panaia towered over his opponents with 30-point matches on the small table in the semi-finals against Seleventas in 18 innings and in the final against Duriez in 14 innings.

The Dane Anders Henriksen grabbed the gold in the free game under 21, in which he defeated the French favourite Pierre Martory 300-1 in 1 inning. The bronze medal went to Jordy Jong from the Netherlands and Stef van Hees from Belgium. The German Max Gabel won the 5-pins under 21 ahead of Italian Riccardo Matino, Belgian Dylan Parent and Frenchman Florian Guingand.

The 15-year-old Dutchman Nick Dudink won the title in the free game under 17. The North Holland player, brother of the 18-year-old Leon Dudink and family of two other great talents, Ferry Jong and Jordy Jong, defeated the Frenchman Djason Ponthieu in the final 200-104 in 5 innings after a winning run of 108. The bronze in this class went to Nathan Legendre (France) and Jelle Billiet (Belgium).

The French team of Courrieres won the team title ahead of De Kowk, Rouen and Dazieux.

The two French three cushion winners: Maxime Panaia (l) and Gwendal Maréchal

Gwendal Maréchal on his way to the title to beat Carlos Anguita

Magali Declunder, winner Europe ladies cup

On stage of the ladies cup: Magali Declunder, Monique van Exter (l) and the bronze winners Karolien Matthys and Christel Willemse

Andes Henriksen, the gold winner in free game

Maxime Panaia shows the French flag: three titles in a row

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