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Carom Billiard - 3-Cushion - World Junior Championship - Los Narejos (ESP)

Myung-Woo Cho, a miracle of nature

Posted by on September 11, 2017

Myung-Woo Cho, a miracle of nature

© Kyung Hee Cho
Dani Sánchez (r) and Myung-Woo Cho, training mates and real good friends

NAREJOS - The 19-year-young Korean Myung-Woo Cho defends his junior world title three cushion in Spain this week. Dani Sánchez, the world's number one and four times world champion, considers Myung-Woo the biggest natural talent he has ever seen in billiards. ,,He has a fantastic playing style and a wonderful technique, focus and mentality for such a young player'', says the Spaniard, who never played a junior world championship himself. ,,In my heart, I hope that there will be a Spanish winner, but my feeling is double. I will be happy as well when Myung-Woo wins. He comes to practice in my club almost every day. And he is more than a friend, a kind of family.''

Dani Sánchez has been staying in Korea since the LG U tournament, will travel to Japan in between and then returns to Korea for the World Cup in Cheongju, which starts on 25 September. ,,We often play matches, together, Myung Woo Cho and I, in my club, DS Billiards in Gildon. And sometimes we go to another club to play against amateurs. Myung Woo has moved from Suwon to Gildong with his father. He's now living close to the university and my club.''

Frits Bakker/Kozoom: What makes Myung-Woo Cho so special compared to other young players?
Dani Sánchez: He has received his talent from nature, as I've seen before with Dion Nelin. I'm even surprised, sometimes, by the ease with which he makes very difficult shots. The stroke is so straight..., the technique is so amazing, his focus is unbelievable. A lot of young Korean talents have a great technique, but Myung Woo Cho is special, even more talented and better in his game and with his stroke.

Kozoom/FB: He is also a very gentle and happy boy outside the billiard.
DS: He always laughs, is always happy, but also a little shy. It's nice to see how we deal with each other. We speak a kind of mix, Korean and English and sometimes only by body language. He is studying English now, very slow, but he really wants it. Being close to school now and close to the club, is better for his development. His father works in my club, so they meet much more often. He still improves, of course, in his development, but he's already so good. As a 19 year old boy, he won a tournament with all strong Koreans last month with 1.9 of average.

Kozoom/FB: What is the secret of the young Koreans, what education do they get, how do they get that wonderful technique?
DS: Most players have started with 4 ball game, free game with four balls. And often they come from the pool world. But when they are involved in the federation, they switch to only play three cushion. They didn't practice at all in the classical games. I don't think that's necessary for young players. I started playing free game when I was very young, but I only came to 20, 30 of average. I was only interested in three cushion. The young Koreans practice endlessly on their stroke and technique, even without a ball, or with one ball, days and hours, always focused on technique and stroke.

Kozoom/FB: How do you see that, when you compare it to your own development? Did you have a trainer/coach in Spain?
DS: There was no federation training school when I was young. Jose Maria Quetglas started the school when I just had passed my junior time. The Belgian Laurent Boulanger came to Madrid sometimes for a week to teach us. I remember him being two meters tall, who always finished behind Ceulemans and Dielis in champions and also was Roland Forthomme's teacher. In my young years, I played with Miguel Angel Albert and Jose Gomez Bravo. Emile Wafflard, also a Belgian, actually was my first trainer, for free game and balk-line. He was a phenom in the classic games, later the teacher of Frédéric Caudron. In those years, there was no world championship for juniors. I took the European title three times and also the Spanish championship. We once played a Spanish championship in Barcelona with almost 100 players.

Kozoom/FB: The development of young Asian players is unstoppable, as we all see. But is there any difference between Koreans, Vietnamese and Japanese?
DS: There are so many young Koreans. In all the big cities and billiard clubs you see a lot of young talents who are much further in their development than in the rest of the world. In Japan, there are only a few: the son of Funaki and Yusuke Mori. In Vietnam there are no big name young players, but for sure they will come up in a few years.

Kozoom/FB: For example, in Europe, how can we prevent that we will be overwhelmed by Asian talents very soon?

DS: When this development continues, it will be the Asians who dominate three cushion in ten, twenty years. Only in Spain, France and Turkey we have some talents. I hope that we will be able to compete with the current European top players for another ten, twenty years for the World Cups and championship victories. If we don't want to be overwhelmed, things have to be changed. I have a great of confidence in Diane Wild, the new European president, but the initiatives and the action with young players have to come from the federations.

Kozoom/FB: What do you expect from the Spanish players at the World championship?
DS: Carlos Anguita is the European champion, a very strong player and in my view one of the favorites. Mario Mercader and Daniel Peña are under twenty, for those guys this is a great experience to play with the best young players in the world. I always have the illusion that we can compete for the title with the Spaniards. We have delivered a lot of young champions in the past. I can't come and watch there, but I will follow it all on Kozoom and wish the organization a very nice tournament.

The World championship will start on Friday (September 15) and last until Sunday, September 17th. The venue is in the Centro de Alto Rendimiento in Los Narejos, near Murcia, where the Spanish training school is located.

Dani Sánchez, four time world champion and Myung-Woo Cho, junior world champion

The invited players for the championship in Spain:

Myung-Woo Cho, South Korea (1.600), title defender.
Carlos Anguita, Spain (1.154)
Mario Mercader, Spain (0.676)
Gwendal Marechal, France (1,135)
Tobias Bouerdick, Germany (0.825)
Arda Güngör, Turkey (0.875)
Joey de Kok, Netherlands (0.692)
Caro Nelson, Colombia (0.899)
Christian Sanchez, Colombia (0.671)
Brian Peralta, Peru (0.511)
Mauro Salvador, Argentina (0.782)
Jung-Ju Shin, South Korea (1.981)
Beomyeol Lee, South Korea (1,288)
Shota Funaki, Japan (0.800)
Youssef Ossama, Egypt (0.830)
Daniel Pena, Spain (0.792).

Jung-Ju Shin, the other Korean title favourite 

The group format:

Group A:
Myung-Woo Cho
Youssef Ossama
Mario Mercader
Mauro Salvador

Group B:
Carlos Anguita
Beomyeol Lee
Brian Peralta
Joey de Kok

Group C:
Caro Nelson
Gwendal Marechal
Tobias Bouerdick
Shota Funaki

Group D:
Jung-Ju Shin
Christian Sanchez
Arda Güngör
Daniel Pena.

Carlos Anguita from Spain, the reigning European champion

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