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Carom Billiard - 3-Cushion - Kozoom Challenge Cup Final - Lège-Cap-Ferret (FRA)

The 8 Kozoom finalists in short preview interviews

Posted by on September 13, 2021

The 8 Kozoom finalists in short preview interviews

© Tourism
A sea view at the wonderful town of Lège Cap Ferret where the Kozoom finals will be played

LÈGE CAP FERRET - On the beautiful, luxurious peninsula between the Bassin d'Arcachon and the Atlantic Ocean, where Lége Cap Ferret is also known as the Saint Tropez of the Atlantic coast, world billiards is facing a new start again this week. The eight final players in the Kozoom Challenge Cup, headed by Dick Jaspers, Marco Zanetti and Eddy Merckx, the top three in the world rankings, are only few days away from the long-awaited kick-off of the still early season, in which World Cups, tournaments and competitions are finally being revived. The initiative of Kozoom and the CEB has been received with great enthusiasm from all sides. The Korean top tournament, where Dick Jaspers won the main prize, was a first, but because of COVID a long ordeal, now there are finally better prospects.

The Kozoom final will be played this week from Thursday to Sunday with the eight winners from the preliminary rounds, in a Double Knockout format. The winners of a match always go on to the next round, the losers get another chance, two losses mean the final elimination.

We look ahead with the eight players, who in the form of short, quick comments look ahead to the tournament, look back on the pre-rounds and consider the current status of world billiards. The final is in the billiard arena of La Halle from Thursday 16 to Sunday 19 September. The finalists are Dick Jaspers from the Netherlands, Marco Zanetti from Italy, Eddy Merckx from Belgium, Roland Forthomme from Belgium, Dion Nelin from Denmark, Ruben Legazpi from Spain, Gwendal Maréchal from France and Peter De Backer from Belgium. Spectators are welcome. The matches will be broadcast live on

Dick Jaspers
Preliminary round with Peter Ceulemans and Manuel Rui Costa, 16 sets won, against Ceulemans 5, Rui Costa 3, 1,814 on average, highest run 7.

''I appreciate very much that Kozoom has put this tournament on the calendar as a compensation for the many UMB tournaments that disappeared from the calendar.''
''The format is new and interesting, with three players in one match.''
''I am usually well prepared, especially in the last days before a tournament starts, I screw up my training work.''
''It's very nice that everyone kept their personal freedoms during the pandemic and that nothing was done under pressure.''
''We are known in the Netherlands for not being such a disciplined people, who also like to have their own rules, but we learned to live up with the situation.''

Marco Zanetti
Preliminary round with Antonio Montes and Arnim Kahofer, 11 sets won against Montes 10 and Kahofer 3, average 1,688, run 10.

''We all were happy with Kozoom's effort, hoping that our European Federation will also develop new iniatiatives in the future to enable Europeans to continue playing matches.''
''The format gives a different dynamic to the tournament.''
''My preliminary group was very exciting and was only decided in the last set. I was lucky to start in the last and decisive set, so I could beat my direct opponent Montes, who played after me, with a toough defence.''
''Unfortunately, I have not been able to practice very intensively because of some physical problems with my forearm and especially with the elbow.''
''For the time being, I cannot technically play the way I would like to.''
''The quarantine requirements of local governments make it understandable that the UMB has difficulty organising official events. But on the other hand, we see other sports federations already started playing official competitions that also count for the world ranking last year.''

Eddy Merckx
Preliminary rounds against Dave Christiani and Maxime Panaia, 19 won sets against 4 for Christiani, 1 for Panaia, average 1,813, run 10

''I think it's a fantastic effort by Kozoom, especially the spontaneous change of the schedule of the preliminaries so that the event in Korea could take place, which shows a lot of respect for colleagues and players.''
''I was able to play some small events and and the first league games as preparation.''
''At home, I practice every day and that so many events have been cancelled at UMB, I find that unfortunate, but of course, because it was normal.''
''I must say that at one point, I was glad that certain tournaments were postponed or cancelled, because I wanted to come through this time as safely as possible.''
''It seems to me now this is the time to start up again, so I hope we will get the green light to play the World Cup in Veghel.''

Roland Forthomme
Preliminary rounds against Nikos Polychronopoulos and Michael Nilsson, 12 sets won against 6 for Polychronopoulos and 6 for Nilsson, average 1,558, run 10.

''These pre-rounds were my first matches after my minor surgery. I could play without pressure and certainly did so, on a reasonable level, especially on the third day.''
''I hope we are launched again, playing without mouth masks. That is really unprofessional, in my opinion.''
''For the Belgians, everything is quite normal. Mouth masks to go to the toilet, or in the shops, that's good. With the vaccinations, the risks are very small, aren't they?''
''My preparation was quite normal, a bit of playing at home, a bit with Frédéric Mottet and now the season has started with matches in Belgium and Holland. Those are always good tests before such a tournament as Kozoom.''
''So come on, enjoy life again.''

Dion Nelin
Preliminary rounds against Jérôme Barbeillon and Jose Maria Mas, 11 sets won against 7 for Mas, 6 for Barbeillon, run 10

''It's really nice to live without restrictions in Denmark again,
unlike in Asia for example, where not so many people are vaccinated.''
''That still causes problems for the UMB events. I think they handle Corona situation well and understand that there should be no tournaments with WR points.''
''I feel fortunate that I am around top 20 position now, so I was invited to the Korean tournament this summer.''
''It's wonderful that CEB and Kozoom are doing this for the players, on the other hand, I feel a bit sorry for the other players who are not so high on the ranking.''
''They have not been able to play anything for the last 19 months.''
''In the preliminary round we already had a nice time together, we were relaxed and had fun.''
''I am always relaxed in the game and like to be good friends with my opponents.''
''I play and practice every day and like to go cycling almost every day. It's nice weather, so time to go outside and get in form.''

Ruben Legazpi
Preliminary rounds with Mikaël Devogelaere and Nathan Duriez, 13 sets won against 10 for Devogelaere, 1 for Duriez, average 1,752, run 10

,,It's great that players and spectators can enjoy the wonderful tournaments again.''
''My start was difficult, but fortunately I could find my focus on the decisive day and qualify for the grand final.
I was able to practice only two days a week for a couple of years, but now I could practice a lot, every day for four hours and played a lot of sets on 10 points.''
''And of course I also trained the break shot, because it's very important in this format.''
''It is a special tournament, I want to play my best to be able to measure up to these great players.''
''I am hopefully looking for a busy season, with all the matches in Spain and some in Holland, France and Germany.''
''And of course, I want to play the World Cups again.''
''I'm more or less living a normal life now, always with security measures and protocols, of course.''

Peter De Backer
Preliminary rounds with Jérémy Bury and Jacob Haack Sörensen, 10 sets won and 1 deciding set against Bury, for Bury also 10, Sörensen 8, average 1,202, run 6

''I'm happy and relieved to escape from the hustle and bustle for a few days for the Kozoom final. That is also, of course, because Kozoom is my second home.''
''It's extremely busy in my shop the last few weeks. People coming to buy all kinds of stuff, repairing shafts, renewing cloths and many other things.''
''The tournament is a perfect outlet, I'm really looking forward to it.''
''Yes, it was more or less surprising that I, and not Jérémy Bury came out of our group from the preliminaries.''
''But actually, it was not totally unexpected. We have often played against each other, always hard fights and I won many of them.''
''For me there is no stress in the final, I play against the world top and go there to relax, away from the crowd at home.''
''Really it's a pity to start against Eddy Merckx in the Kozoom final.''
''Driving a thousand kilometres in my car to play against a Belgian... And if I lose, and Forthomme loses, then we have to play each other.''
''To be honest, I would have preferred to play against Jaspers or Zanetti. But of course I am happy that it can start again.''
''I certainly intend to play the World Cup in Veghel and in Sharm El Sheikh.''

Gwendal Maréchal
Preliminary rounds against Torbjörn Blomdahl and Ronny Lindemann, 12 sets won against Blomdahl 7 and Lindemann 5, average 1,688, run 10

''It's a real privilege that Kozoom can organise this, they have the equipment to produce good and telegenic images for the promotion of billiards.''
''The first day of the preliminaries with Blomdahl and Lindemann was a tough fight and a bit strange to play such a formula.''
''It turned into a battle between Blomdahl and me, which fortunately ended well for me.''
''I was leading 7-5 against Blomdahl and it could have been 7-7, but I was happy to make the last point of each set.''
''With a four-set lead, I was in a good position, but against the world champion you always have to be careful.''
''My preparation was not optimal, especially in August. I didn't play much, only on a youth training, organised by the French federation.''
''Moreover, I resumed my studies at the start of September, so I can only practice in the weekends.''
''The most important thing is to have a good feeling and motivation.''
''Very good news for the billiard players and fans all over the world is that the World Cups of Veghel and Sharm El Sheikh are still on the calendar.''
''I will have to divide my time again this season between studies, billiards and travelling.''

''Also I'm looking forward to play again with the teams of Andernos in France and Gandia in the Spanish league.''
''More than 40 million people have now been vaccinated in France, hopefully we will soon return to a normal life.''

The final winner will be awarded EUR 12,000, the runner-up EUR 8,000 and the semi-finalists EUR 5,000. The total prize money is EUR 52,000.

The competition schedule is as follows:

Thursday 16 September:
11.30: Eddy Merckx-Peter De Backer
14.00: Roland Forthomme-Gwendal Maréchal
16.30: Ruben Legazpi-Marco Zanetti
19.00: Dion Nelin-Dick Jaspers

Friday 17th September:
Matches at 11.30, 14.00 and 16.30.

Saturday 18 September:
Matches at 14.00, 16.30 and 19.00.

Sunday 19 September:
Semi-finals at 11.00 and 13.30.
Final at 17.00 hrs.

The entrance to La Halle in Lège Cap-Ferret is 10 euros for one day of competition, a pass for 4 days is 30 euros.




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My Comments

Remarks to Mr.Zanetti
Very good point made in your interview.

Not necessary to find in other sports.

We watch the Professional snooker tour, PBA carom tour and many international pool events almost everyday.
The only exception is carom even in billiard sports. And it definitely tells us. What else?

Is carom 3-cushion too dangerous sport to be organized?
No, the people who run the carom world organizations now (and before).
Also, billiard journalists who are closing their eyes to this ridiculous situation.
On the same boat?

What do carom players and fans think? Please leave comments here.

Message 1/1 - Publish at September 17, 2021 10:34 PM - Edited at September 17, 2021 10:36 PM

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