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Miraculous World Cup for Bong Chul Kim

Posted by on November 17, 2018

Miraculous World Cup for Bong Chul Kim

© Kozoom Studio
Korean Bong Chul Kim is the number 118 in the world, now in top 4 of World Cup in Seoul

SEOUL - On the day before the finals at the World Cup in Seoul, six of the seven Koreans were eliminated and one fairly unknown player remained for the final day. 38-year-old Bong Chul Kim, number 118 on the world ranking, moved to the semi-finals on Sunday in what has been so far a miraculous tournament. He faces Filippos Kasidokostas, another sensation at this World Cup. Two European protagonists meet in the other semi-finals: Dick Jaspers after beating Marco Zanetti, Eddy Merckx by a victory over his countryman Eddy Leppens.

The semi-finals on Sunday:
Korean time 15.00: Kasidokostas-Kim
17.00: Merckx-Jaspers

The Korean fans in the stands could not believe their eyes. Bong Chul Kim from Seoul first survived three days of pre-rounds, slipped into the main draw as the very last runner-up in the final qualifiers and then took all the spotlights. The wife (with a black cap) and daughter of the Korean were happily laughing and cheering for each wonderful point and after every victory. The man himself was on cloud nine after his glorious days. On Friday, the new Korean hero first defeated Torbjörn Blomdahl 40-30 in 16, on Saturday morning he got the better of Dutchman Jean Paul de Bruijn 40-25 in 21 and in the quarterfinals, later that day, Vietnamese Nguyen Quoc Nguyen was outplayed 40-32 in 18 (average 2.222).

Bong Chul Kim, actually born at Je Ju Island, lives with his wife, two daughters and one son in Seoul. The only success he achieved so far was in a Bursan Grand Prix in 2013, where he finished second behind Jung-Han Heo and ahead of Sung-Won Choi and the late Kyung-Roul Kim. But this World Cup in Seoul is undoubtedly the highlight in his career, whatever happens on the final day. He is the only Asian player in the last four, remaining from 36 Koreans and 35 Vietnamese who were at the start.

Filippos Kasidokostas, living in the Illisia district in Athens these days, practicing in his team's club Enjoy, is Kim's opponent on Sunday for a place in the final. The Greek, after a long period of training sessions with his wrong hand, is back with high averages and high runs. On the way to the final day, Filippos first defeated Korean Seo and in the quarter-finals Colombian Robinson Morales by a margin 40-13 in 14 innings (2.857). The run of seven shortly after the start and a stunning 13 in the sixth inning (31-8 in six) made the early decision.

In the European session of the quarters, Marco Zanetti first took a big lead in the match against Dick Jaspers: 20-7 at the break. The match turned the other way after the 12 by Jaspers in the 12th (26-23 for the Dutchman). The same was seen at the table during the Belgian clash between Eddy Leppens and Eddy Merckx. Leppens had a better start, 11-3 in 5 and 13-6 in 9. Then, after the break, Merckx came back with 8, leading him 23-21 in the 16th.

Dick Jaspers was on fire in the final part after 29-29 in 17 and the Italian leading 35-30 in 18. The Dutch man struck again with a high run: ten to the finish for 40-35. Zanetti needed 5 for a draw, but missed after two points. Eddy Merckx, on the other table, also finished it off in style: Leppens seemed on his way to stand out, Merckx felt no stress, no tension and pulled the trigger with 5 and 2: 40-36 in 27.

In the first sessions of the day with the last sixteen it was a wear and tear for the Koreans. Six of the seven disappeared from the tournament: Myung-Woo Cho, Dong-Koong Kang, Jae-Guen Kim, Hyun Min Seo and Sung-Uk Oh. The only one who survived this round was Bong Chul Kim in his match against Jean Paul de Bruijn. Dick Jaspers had to put up a tough fight. The match against Dong-Koong Kang was at 20-20 in 12 at the break, later also at 31-31 and the Korean was close to the finish at 38-34. He missed a few shots in that part, Jaspers first finally finished with 3 and Kang equalized with 1 (40-40 in 26). In the shoot-out, Jaspers started with 3, Kang scored from the break, but missed his second point.

Little man Myung-Woo Cho disappeared from the tournament after a loss against Marco Zanetti. The Italian led at the stop after a start of 4-5-7 for 25-7 (6). Cho continued with 9 after the break, but suffered a poor last part: 40-29 in 21. Eddy Merckx was by far the best in these eight matches, playing Korean Jae-Guen Kim, whom he defeated 40-16 in 15 innings after 20-5 in 5 at the break and runs of 6 and 9 in the second part. The second Belgian in competition, Eddy Leppens, went flat out to the finish against Anh Vu Duong. Leppens had a strange start: 5 from the break, then six misses in a row. The Vietnamese was leading 13-5 after a run of 10, but could not keep up after the break. Leppens hit the gap with 8 in the 27th, Duong finished with 6 misses in the last 6 innings.

The other part of the schedule showed a Greek, a Colombian, a Vietnamese and a Korean winner. The Korean, the last one remaining in his own country for the quarter-finals, was the dark horse in the field. Bong Chul Kim defeated Jean Paul de Bruijn 40-25 in 21. Both players were in balance at the break after a 9 by Kim, 21-19 in 12. The final part was in favor of Kim, who closed the match with 6-2-2, De Bruijn scored only one point in his last six innings.

Filippos Kasidokostas defeated Korean Seo, who had knocked out Caudron in the first round. The Greek won 40-36 in 23 after a finish with 5. He showed a great form and seemed on his very best again after many years without lucky days in the World Cups. Robinson Morales, Filippos' opponent for the quarterfinals, also outplayed one of the six Koreans in this session. Sung-Uk Oh, surely not one of the big guns, was beaten 40-25 in 27. The Colombian led 21-8 in 15 at the break en attacked by 8 and 5 in the final phase. Nguyen Quoc Nguyen made an end to Can Capak's illusions. The last Turkish player went down for the count 40-16 in 15. Nguyen opened by 8, made another 11 for 21-7 in 7 en scored 7 and 6 in the second part to join the 8 for the quarters.

Bong Chul Kim fired up his hope and is on cloud nine

Filippos Kasidokostas in a nice pose during his last match of the day

Showing his joy after being in the last 4: Filippos Kasidokostas

Dick Jaspers: win over Kang in a shoot-out, win over Zanetti by a final run of 10

Marco Zanetti outplayed young man Myung-Woo Cho in the last 16

Eddy Leppens was close to winning, but finally beaten by Merckx

Eddy Merckx, another never-give-up match and a wonderful finish

Robinson Morales, finally sent home after a lovely performance in Seoul

Bong Chul Kim's wife and little daughter celebating his victory.

The Korean referee, after the McCreery tournament in New York now at home in World Cup Seoul


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