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Shouta Funaki (20), child from Japanese tsunami town

Posted by on February 20, 2021

Shouta Funaki (20), child from Japanese tsunami town

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Japanesetalent Shouta Funaki (20), still aiming for a Junior title on the world's stage

The young European talents in three cushion and players from other parts of the world have been held back in their development by this year of COVID-19 crisis. The last World Junior Championship in Valencia 2019 ended with super-talent Myung-Woo Cho in his last year as the winner and three Koreans on stage. The next World Championship event in the Netherlands was postponed and almost certainly not played.
Was it a year of standstill and stagnation, of desperately waiting for the new start? How do young players deal with the crisis in this important part of their career? Kozoom went in search and starts a series of interviews from now with young billiard players: about the crisis, the future of their careers, the current conditions in their home countries and life without championships, tournaments and competitions. Today, part 6: Shouta Funaki (20) from Japan

Name: Shouta Funaki
Age: 20
Residence: Miyagi, Japan
Profession/study: Billiards
Hobby: Listening to music
Billiard Club: Billiard Funaki
Sponsor: Fareast Cue (JP)

1. Kozoom/Frits Bakker: How do you cope with this year in which the COVID crisis dominates all the world?
Shouta Funaki: I take good care of my health, but I try to practice billiards every day. And I teach other players, that is my main task. I work and I play in my grandfather Kazuyasu Funaki's billiard club, like my father Kouji Funaki, in the billiard centre with 4 match tables and 4 pool tables.

2. Kozoom: Is this a time of standstill and stagnation in your young career in which rapid progression should be so important?
Shouta Funaki: I want to keep developing in the way it is possible, after I started playing billiards five years ago. Before that, I played baseball. I got injured, so I started playing billiards in my fathers steps. I was playing in three Junior World Championships so far. The best ranking was sixth. But I still am aiming for a title. Many people in my circle talk about the PBA these days, the new Korean organisation, but nobody wants to make the switch. I don't know, if I had the chance...?

3. Kozoom: How is the current situation in your hometown and in your country regarding COVID-19?
Shouta Funaki: The infection has not spread very far in my region, fortunately. But I am vigilant and should remain so for the time being. I live in Miyagi, one kilometre from the centre of Sengai, where the billiard club is. Sengai is a city of over one million inhabitants. A small city compared to Tokyo, which is 350 kilometres south with 13 million inhabitants. My city, Miyagi, part of Sengai, is well known for the big earthquake and tsunami in 2011, in which 15.000 people died. I remember the disaster as a 9-year-old boy. Still many people have not been found.

4. Kozoom: How are the conditions for you to practice these days?
Shouta Funaki: The practice time for me now during the crisis is about 5 to 7 hours a day. There are no matches in Japan, but from May onwards we can start again if the situation remains as it is now. Everyone is looking forward to this new start in this billiard country, where Kobayashi and Komori are the legends, Rujiji Umeda the last world champion and Tatsuo Arai the Japanese champion last year.

5. Kozoom: What does your life look like without championships, tournaments and competitions?
Shouta Funaki: I think like all billiard players in the world, waiting to start again, being able to participate in World Cups or major championships again.

6. Kozoom: What is your country doing for young talents to develop in billiards?
Shouta Funaki: If I have to be honest, the NBA, the Nippon Billiards Association, and JPBF, the federations in my country, are not doing well. NBA is the Japanese federation, JPBF is a players' association. I have the feeling that NBA is not really functional. There are young players in pool billiards, but I am the only junior in three cushion in Japan. The NBA feels left out by young carom players. But without the NBA, Japanese players cannot compete in international competitions. It would be good to have more cooperation with the NBA and more opportunities to play foreign tournaments.

7. Kozoom: How do you see your future as a sportsman and possibly as a professional billiard player?
Shouta Funaki: I can't look into the future, but I want to prepare myself well for the next chances that surely will come up. And looking across the border: there is a new organisation in Korea now, the PBA, which looks very exciting. I think it's a good thing for the players.

Shouta Funaki (right) and his father Kouji Funaki, who once was at stage in an Egypt World Cup

Shouta Funaki in one of his international performances

Shouta Funaki, waiting for better times in billiards




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My Comments

International tournaments despite Corona crisis
To all enthusiastic tournament players:

Contrary to many reports, international tournaments are taking place regularly despite the Corona crisis. I am amazed that many billiards journalists do not keep their readers and billiards officials do not keep their members informed about the latest developments in our sport. If I did not know that many of them are informed about MYWEBSPORT, I would not be surprised.
I ask you dear billiard journalists and officials to take this into consideration in the future.

Recently, unfortunately, we read mainly about planned tournaments being postponed or cancelled and about uncertainties in the planning. I am happy to be able to report on international tournaments that take place regularly and are not affected by postponements or cancellations.

At the beginning of the year we started the HOME TOUR, an international tournament series with two tournaments every fortnight. On Saturday there is always a 3-cushion tournament, on Sunday a 5-birilli tournament. Maybe some of you have heard about it, maybe you have already watched it. Because all matches of the HOME TOUR will be streamed live: just click on the button "Live Streams" on our website on tournament day and follow the links. The participants play at their private tables at home or in their clubs, so far in Germany, Austria, Denmark, Poland and Italy. And there are more and more, as further systems will soon be installed in Austria, the Netherlands and Poland.

For all those who are interested in environmental protection and sustainability also in an economic respect. Following a comparison (savings) between the international tournaments organised via MYWEBSPORT from 01.01. to 14.02.2021 and conventionally organised tournaments with the same players at one venue:

- 80,000 grams of CO²
- 536 hours of travel time
- 27,000 euros travel and hotel costs

All information about MYWEBSPORT and the MYWEBSPORT WORLD ASSOCIATION (MWA) tournaments can be found on our homepage:


Ladies and Youth:

After the HOME TOUR has started well and is very well received by the participants, the MYWEBSPORT team is now paying special attention to the ladies and youth. We would like to start as soon as possible with the LADIES HOME TOUR and the YOUTH HOME TOUR.

Even before the crisis, it was difficult to organise regular international tournaments in both the women's and youth sectors. The time and costs are enormous because the ladies and youth live scattered all over Europe. Now, in the crisis, this has become practically impossible.

MYWEBSPORT makes it possible.


Here is a link to a video explainer about the principle of MYWEBSPORT:


I am looking forward to numerous statements, if someone prefers to share his opinion personally, then feel free to send an email:

Best regards --- Jimmy

MYWEBSPORT - Your Home For On-line Billiards

Message 1/1 - Publish at February 21, 2021 7:54 AM

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