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Carom Billiard - 3-Cushion - World Cup - Cheongju (KOR)

Haeng-Jik Kim in champions gallery after World Cup win

Posted by on October 1, 2017

Haeng-Jik Kim in champions gallery after World Cup win

© Kozoom/Korea
Haeng-Jik Kim with the trofee, his second in a row in the World Cup cycle

CHEONGJU CITY - With tears of joy and happiness, 25-year-old Haeng-Jik Kim celebrated his victory at the World Cup in Cheongju City. The young Korean, cheered from the crowded stands by his fans, defeated Murat Naci Coklu in the final (40-30 in 16) and goes into history as the fourth player who ever won two World Cups in a row. Dani Sánchez remains on top of the world ranking despite his quick elimination. Haeng-Jik Kim climbs to the third spot behind Sánchez and Jaspers and is the new leader in the World Cup ranking after five tournaments.

The jump of joy, with his fist in the air on his way to the podium, showed the emotional release of the now most successful Korean billiards player ever. Haeng-Jik Kim took gold in four junior world championships, took the Asian overall title and now won his second consecutive World Cup. The only thing missing on his honor role is the real world title, but none of the experts doubt that he will be on the highest stage in the upcoming years after his second place last year in Bordeaux.

In the track of three major champions, Torbjörn Blomdahl, Dick Jaspers and Frédéric Caudron, Haeng-Jik Kim took a two-times-in-a-row World Cup tournament in the South Korean arena. The Swede did so even six times in the long history of the World Cup since 1986. Dick Jaspers is the record holder with three consecutive World Cup victories in 2008. Haeng-Jik Kim was the fifth Korean who ever won a World Cup.

He still has not been able to celebrate the victory with friends and family. ,,I received a lot of messages and congratulations, but I had to drive 200 km to go back home after the ceremony and all interviews'', Haeng-Jik told after a long day and before he went to sleep. He closed with: ,,I was very emotional, I cried a little bit in front of the camera.'' On the stage he thanked his sponsors, LG, Ventus tables, Hanbat cues and Simonis. ,,I also have to say thanks to Glenn Hofman, the Dutch player, who is a real friend since we played in the juniors. We have contact with each other at least twenty days every month and after a tournament, we share our feelings. I am grateful to him for that.''

The fifth World Cup this year went to the climax with two Turks (Murat Naci Coklu and Lütfi Cenet), Dutchman Dick Jaspers and Haeng-Jik Kim. The final match between the Korean and Murat Naci Coklu turned into a one way match with a superior Kim, who consolidated his early lead (20-9 after 7 innings, 32-22 after 12). The match finally continued un his favor. The regularity of scoring was Kim's main weapon in the final. Coklu was now, after his strong finishes in the previous matches, only able to attack twice with 7 and 9 run, Kim was in a much better rhythm, including four runs of five.

What did history tell about previous matches between Haeng Jik Kim and Murat Naci Coklu? Three times they met each other before and Coklu won them all. The last two victories were in the World Cup in La Baule (40-32 in 19) and in New York (25-23 in 19) last year, before that, in Porto 2008, Coklu won 2-1 in sets, averaging 2.000.

The lead-up to the final in Cheongju City gave Coklu a slight psychological advantage. His last three matches finished in 20, 14 and 14 innings, while Kim won in 26, 18 and 23 innings. The Turk was especially on his best in the final stages of his matches with a final eleven run against Choong-Bok Lee, a major performance against Sung-Won Choi and a strong finish to eliminate Dick Jaspers.

The Dutchman opened with six and eight runs and led 16-7 after seven innings. Two innings later, Coklu had turned the tables (18-16) and after the break he ran out with seven to 25-20. Jaspers kept the match in balance until 27-27, but from that point, Coklu couldn't be stopped. The final 9-run, with three, four brilliant caroms, marked his high level (40-30 in 14).

Jaspers stated: ,,Murat played a fantastic match, especially in the last 9-run, with some magic points. I'm happy with my tournament to finish in the last four again. That gives me a boost for the next World Cups, because in the last two I went out in the first round.''

Haeng-Jik Kim had knocked down the ever-feared Jae-Ho Cho on Saturday night with a riant score (40-21 in 18) and defeated Lütfi Cenet in the semi-final with an unanswered attack in the second part. Until then, the match was in balance (22-22), but from that position, the Korean made the gap, first to 34-24, then to 39-29 and with the match ball to 40-30 in 23.

For Lütfi Cenet, it was his second consecutive tournament in which he reached to the best four. In the World Cup in Porto he was also beaten by Haeng-Jik Kim, then 40-36 in 23. Cenet makes a climb on the ranking, but is still around 20th place.

Haeng-Jik Kim on top of the stage with Murat Naci Coklu, Dick Jaspers and Lütfi Cenet

The final World Cup result in Cheongju City:
1 Haeng-Jik Kim 1.923-8
2 Murat Naci Coklu 2.021-13
3 Dick Jaspers 2.112-10
3 Lütfi Cenet 1.562-8
5 Sameh Sidhom 1,828-14
6 Jae-Ho Cho 1.629-10
7 Sung-Won Choi 1.576-13
8 Xuan Cuong Mon 1.386-11
9 Choong-Bok Lee 2.257-9
10 Torbjörn Blomdahl 2.162-10
11 Dani Sánchez 1.937-12
12 Eddy Merckx 1.755-7
13 Tolgahan Kiraz 1.720-11
14 Semih Sayginer 1,666-12
15 Jung-Han Heo 1.558-7
16 Anh Vu Duong 1.193-7
17 Roland Forthomme 2.058-10
18 Birol Uymaz 1.785-9
19 In-Won Kang 1.772-6
20 Dinh-Nai Ngo 1,714-9.

The four final players in South-Korea

The new world ranking
1 Dani Sanchez 388
2 Dick Jaspers 372
3 Haeng-Jik Kim 350
4 Marco Zanetti 299
5 Murat Naci Coklu 283
6 Torbjörn Blomdahl 280
7 Frédéric Caudron 248
8 Jérémy Bury 232
9 Nikos Polychronopoulos 231
10 Sameh Sidhom 230
11 Eddy Merckx 220
12 Nguyen Quoc Nguyen 216
13 Jung-Han Heo 214
14 Quyet Chien Tran 203
15 Jae-Ho Cho 201
16 Sung-Won Choi 197
17 Tayfun Tasdemir 172
18 Eddy Leppens 161
19 Semih Sayginer 158
20 Dong-Koong Kang 150

The final show after the World Cup

Haeng-Jik Kim, the new leader at the World Cup cycle

Haeng-Jik Kim took his second-in-a-row World Cup win

Lütfi Cenet, second time in the last four


Murat Naci Coklu on his way to beat Dick Jaspers in the semis

Dick Jaspers, happy with podium place

Murat Naci Coklu coudln't finish it off after a perfect tournament

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