Carom Billiard - 3-Cushion - World Games - Cali (COL)
Three cushion players at World Games with 3000 athletes
© World Games site
Colombian children posing with the mascot of the World Games
CALI – Sixteen three cushion players, 32 pool players (16 men, 16 women) and 16 snooker players will join 3000 other athletes on Friday 26 July at the start of the World Games, to be held in Cali, Colombia. The opening of the tournament is on Thursday 25 July, the closing ceremony on 4 August. The final of the three cushion event will be on Tuesday 30 July.
The sports that will be part of these “alternative” games are divided into seven categories. Billiards is in the “Precision games”, with bowling and petanque. Other categories are Artistic games (roller skating, trampoline, aerobics), Ball games (squash, beach hand ball, “basket” ball, canoe polo), Fight games (sumo, karate, ju jitsu), Power games (power lifting), Trend sports (climbing, water ski, lifesaving) and Invitation sports (softball, skating and canoe marathon).
Colombia was host to big events earlier, like in 2008 for the national games, with 6000 athletes. President of the organization is Rodrigo Otoya, sports director Jose Luis Echeverry. The slogan for the World Games is ’Fair Play to the Planet’.
The World Games Association was founded in 1981 in Seoul. The number of international federations has since gone from 12 to 33. The World Games are officially recognized by the International Olympic Committtee. At the last World Games in 2009, Russia was leading in medals won: 18 gold, 14 silver and 15 bronze, for a total of 47. Italië won 16 golds and a total of 41, to come second, ahead of China with 14 gold, the USA 13 gold and France 11 gold.
Kozoom spoke with Jean Claude Dupont, chairman of the UMB, and asked him some questions about three cushion at the World Games.
Frits Bakker: The World Games exist since 1981, when did three cushion become one of the events?
Jean Claude Dupont: ,,Billiards first took part in 2001, and three cushion was one of the events from the beginning. There have always been four disciplines played side by side in a single arena: snooker with 16 players, pool for men, 16 players, pool for women, 16 players, three cushion, 16 players.’’
FB: Who are the past winners?
JCD: ,,For three cushion: 2001 in Akita (Japan): Dani Sánchez (Spanje); 2005 in Duisburg (Duitsland): Dani Sánchez (Spanje) after penalties against Jaspers; 2009 in Kaohsiung (Taipe): Dick Jaspers after a penalty shoot-out against Torbjörn Blomdahl.
FB: The World Games are officially recognized by the International Olympic Committee, and are “alternative” Games. Is that the intention, to serve sports that are not considered for the Olympic Games?
JCD: Those questions are difficult to answer in a few sentences. A total of almost 120 sports have been recognized by the international sports community. 64 of those have been awarded Olympic status. Billiards is one of those since 1996, united within ARISF/GAIFS. As you know, since a number of years 28 sports are included into the Olympic Games, and these are selected from the 64. The World Games are organized for those sports that are not included in the Olympics. The selection of 32 sports (for the World Games) is made from the 120 sports, Olympic or otherwise. It is therefore not a given that billiards is represented every time. It is a fight to get in, every four years. To even have a chance to partake in the Olympics, you must, as a sport, at least have played the World Games a number of times. It’s a sort of waiting room, you could say.’’
,,As it is clearly not the intention of the IOC to expand the number of sports in the Olympics, they have increasingly supported the World Games, to keep the pressure off. The latest developments in St. Petersburg show that the international community of recognized sports are revolting against this policy. Hein Verbruggen’s successor in SportAccord, Rumania’s Marius Vizer, has made it clear in his mission statement that he wants to turn over a new leaf, and strive towards the first joint world championships of all sports (!) from 2017. We have exciting times ahead of us, in that respect, and it will be interesting to see how the IOC responds.
FB: Tell us about the schedule for the three cushion?
JCD: It starts on friday, it’s a 16 – player KO format where the winners meet in a final.
The first matches are:
Marco Zanetti-Ma, Roland Forthomme-Christian Rudolph, Murat Naci Coklu-Merlin Romero; Kyung-Roul Kim-Henry Diaz, Dick Jaspers-Javier Teran, O Takeshima-Glenn Hofman; Sameh Sidhom-Carlos Campino, Eddy Merckx-Frank Taylor.
FB: What were the criteria for players to enter?
JCD: The IWGA (International World Games Association) demands a strict combination of “best players” and “optimal geographical spread”. Each confederation has been given a quorum, and instructions to include a number of federations and send their best players.’’
FB: Tell us about the format, KO, flights, how many points, clock?
JCD: ,,Knock-out, 40 points, equal innings, penalties and a time clock. Basically, this is how we play since 2001 (including the equal innings and the penalties).’’
FB: What is the reward for the winner, and nrs. 2 and 3?
JCD: ,,As it is in the Olympics, you play for a medal and the honor of your country. Nevertheless, some national Olympic committees, federations or Ministries of Sports may choose to reward their World Games medallists in some way.’’
FB: You have seen the preparations for this event with your own eyes, I seem to remember you were there. What was the impression it all made on you?
JCD: ,,I went to Colombia a number ot times, and I can say that the country, dificult as it was, has managed to overcome the major difficulties it faced.’’
,,Farouk Barki is the TD (Technical Delegate for WCBS) and as such, has visited Cali twice. Last week in St. Petersburg I had a final conversation with the organizers, and it left us both with mixed feelings.’’
,,Thanks to Farouk’s hard work, we are fairly comfortable with the accommodation and circumstances for the players. The hotels are not part of international chains, but they are solid and well kept. In terms of organization, we expect things to be in order, but the expression ’manana’ is still a part of life. After the strict World Games in Duisburg and the massive World Games in Kaohsiung, we are in for a change. I do look forward to it though, because we know from experience that the South American countries, even with their peculiar ways, always manage to come up with the goods at the final hour.’’
,,Our major reservations are about the sports complex itself. It is an existing building where billiards has never before been played, and where the bowling events will take place in the second week. Infrastructural work needed to be done; that was promised for early this year. Last week, all they could show me were pictures of the building, seen from the outside, and one pic of a construction worker enchanting the floor. That was not very reassuring. We do have a guarantee of sorts: in that same building the Pan-American championships will be played, within three weeks. We hope for the best. The material will be top drawer. Simonis, Saluc, Chevillotte (for three cushion) and Shender (for Pool and Snooker) will make sure of that.
FB: Who will travel to Cali on behalf of the UMB?
JCD: ,,I will be there myself as president of the WCBS-President, and Farouk as WCBS-TD. WCBS secretary general Maxime Cassis will also be there, as well as the WCBS Anti-doping delegate Marcin Kreminski. The number of places for delegates is very limited. Apart from the 64 players, 8 referees, one IT-expert and 4 sponsorss there is the chairman of the Colombian federation, J. Aldana, and CPB-President Carlos Rivera. No representatives from the divisions UMB, WPA, WSF are there, but it goes without saying that both Farouk Barki and I will have an eye on the three cushion most of the time, and will be available to assist the players in any way should they need it.’’
FB: Will federations be represented?
JCD: ,,There was limited room for federations to send a delegation. In view of the high cost, I do not expect to see many. The Olympic principle holds up here: athletes represent their country and their Olympic committee, and in many cases, an NOC delegation is present.’’
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