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Olympic dream for millions of billiard lovers

Posted by on November 30, 2018

Olympic dream for millions of billiard lovers

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The presentation on stage for Olympic billiards in Parijs 2024

PARIS - The project to admit billiards into the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris has been officially launched today November 30, 2018. At the Eiffel Tower in Paris, in a congress hall with many from international media.  The starting shot was symbolically given for the 'Billiards 2024' campaign, aiming the participation of all billiard disciplines at the Olympic Games in Paris. The Australian Ian Anderson, president of the WCBS umbrella organization, opened the meeting with a glowing and hopeful speech, in which he painted a picture of the worldwide popularity of carom, snooker, pool and billiards. The mission, with a long and intensive campaign, should ultimately lead to the Olympic debut of billiard sport and its various disciplines. The Frenchman Jérémy Bury, vice world champion in three-cushion, said in the room with a view over Paris, "I always dreamed of billiards as an Olympic sport, now I really believe we are very close.''

For millions of billiard players and fans it is a sweet dream for the time being. The optimists within the project expect a 50-50% chance, sports experts with a realistic vision are speaking about a 10-25% chance to enter the biggest stage in sport in 2024.  At the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020, 34 sports disciplines will take place. That is six more than at the previous Games in Rio de Janeiro. The new sports for Tokyo are baseball, softball, karate, skateboarding, breaking wave surfing and sport climbing. The candidate sports for five places at the Games in 2024 include squash, billiards and petanque, of which squash will almost certainly be the first choice.

The campaign of the joint billiards federations for Paris 2024 attracted a lot of interest from media and sponsors. Trick shot phenomenon Florian Kohler, who reached a billion viewers on youtube with his videos, started the presentation with an exhibition. Three champions from the different disciplines of billiards fascinated the audience with stories about their love and passion for their sport. Among the attendees was also Fernando Requena, vice chairman of the UMB.

The WCBS (World Confederation of Billiards Sports) has estimated that there are around 200 million people around the world who play billiards (carom, pool, snooker) or are involved someway in the billiard sport. WCBS president Ian Anderson, "I know some real numbers from the USA: 500.000 people regularly play billiards, in total the estimate is that 40 million people in the USA often or occasionally play pool in billiard clubs, schools and social clubs or rooms. Snooker is on television in 110 countries with a total of 500 million snooker fans. Carom billiard is most popular in South Korea, where there are 20,000 clubs with more than 20 tables in Seoul, the capital. I can't imagine that there is one country in the world that has never seen one of the billiard disciplines.''

Jérémy Bury (France), vice world champion in three cushion: ,"I am fascinated by this sport from my young years, by the magic of the three balls, the passion. It is a sport with attack and defense, tactics, fair play and concentration. Billiards has an enormous potential with its various disciplines. We definitely deserve a place at the Games in 2024.''

Shaun Murphy (England), world champion snooker in 2005, "Billiards is a sport for and of all cultures, from young to old, men and women, at competition level and in social circles. Billiards as an Olympic sport has always been a kind of Fata Morgana in the desert. I think we now have a serious chance to be part of the greatest show on earth.''

Jasmin Ouschan (Austria), world champion in pool and many European title wins: "I hope that this dream comes true, because billiards belongs to the Olympic Games. We must hope for the support of millions of fans to reach this objective. Billiards is a fantastic mix of physical and mental strength, dedication, lots of hard work, an optimal focus in the matches. I would like to contribute and bring this sport to the highest stage.''

The project for the 2024 Games is controlled by the world federation UMB, the European billiard federation (Diane Wild, the president and Jean Pierre Guiraud, the coordinator) and the French president Jean-Paul Sinanian. Diane Wild spoke to the audience in a video message, because she could not be present due to a severe back injury. Jean-Paul Sinanian emphasized among other things the French organizational qualities in world billiards, with recently the two three cushion World championships in Bordeaux, the World Cup organizations in La Baule and within a few weeks the first Ceulemans Continental Cup in Bordeaux, a clash between the best players from Europe and Asia.

When the International Olympic Committee will announce the new sports for the Olympic Games in Paris'24, is not yet known.

The guest players on stage: Jérémy Bury, Jasmin Ouschan, Shaun Murphy, Jean-Paul Sinanian and Ian Anderson

Florian Kohler putting on a show.

The female "World's pool champion",  Jasmin Ouschan from Austria.


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