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Carom Billiard - Carom - European Championship - Brandenburg (GER)

The champions, the highlights and the medal ranking

Posted by on May 7, 2017

The champions, the highlights and the medal ranking

© Ton Smilde/Kozoom
Three champions in the European arena: Frédéric Caudron, Marco Zanetti, Raul Cuenca

BRANDENBURG - The last rostrum of the European championship belonged to the big names playing on the small tables. With his team, Frédéric Caudron won his second gold of the tournament. It made him and Raul Cuenca the most successful players of the week, out of all 500. The artistic player from Turkey, Serdar Gümüs, prolonged his title, a young pins player showed once again that Italy rules this discipline, and CEB chairman Bennie Deegens spoke the closing words: the mega-event has lived up to its reputation, and will return to Brandenburg in two years time.

The flags in front of the Stahlpalast waved for the last day. The spotlights in the well-lit billiard arena, with flags of all countries high above the tables, were aimed at the last champions, after ten days of high performance in 800 matches of all disciplines. The armada of gold left the stadium. Most players, like the new 3-cushion champion Marco Zanetti, the Spanish revelation Raul Cuenca, Turkish team winners Tayfun Tasdemir and Can Capak, the virtuoso balkline players and the Italian 5-pin specialists, had already left for home. The closing ceremony was there for the last single event winners: De Goeie Queue in 3-cushion for club teams on the small tables, Cerdar Gümüs as winner of the artistic billiards.

Frédéric Caudron (two golds, one silver) and Raul Cuenca (one gold, two bronzes) were the individual stars of the tournament. The Belgians were the leaders in the overall medal table, ahead of Italy, France, Spain, Turkey and the Netherlands, that took the most medals: 11.

On the ten day schedule, the most prestigious disciplines (3-cushion individual and 3-cushion for national teams) had been planned in the first weekend and early in the week. As a result, this European pearl in the crown had no real climax, and the stands were sparsely filled on the closing days.

The classic encounter between Frédéric Caudron and Eddy Merckx, on the small table for a change, was the highlight of the last day. For these two Belgians, playing 3-cushion on a 2.10 table is like Formula 1 racing on a kart track. The kiss is the main enemy on the small table, other than that, the game has few secrets. Eddy Merckx had already excelled with a run of 18, earlier in the club event, and Caudron now finished his quarterfinal with a run of 16. He won the Belgian clash thanks to runs of 12 (1st inning) and 17 (3d inning), leading the match 35-0 after four innings and finishing his one-man show 40-11 in 6.

De Goeie Queue met Andernos in the final, and showed its superiority. Frédéric Caudron beat Roland Forthomme 40-12 in 11 innings, Jean Paul de Bruijn got past Thibaut Espada with a 40-26 in 19.

The champions, the highlights, the medal ranking:

Marco Zanetti (55) celebrated one of the finest titles in his long career, in the opening weekend of Brandenburg. It was only the second European crown for the Italian, who beat Frédéric Caudron in a strangely one-sided final (40-14 in 11 innings). ,,I dedicate this title to my family, my friends and the supporters who have always stood by me.''

The new European champion had a rocket start, and it gave him a rarely seen advantage of 29 to 1. Caudron had played very well in the earlier rounds, and he had beaten Dick Jaspers in the semifinal just two hours earlier. But he had no reply to the demonstration of excellence from his former Agipi teammate. ,,I have played my best final ever, it feels fantastic'', said a joyous Zanetti.

The final day of the individual 3-cushion championship started with Caudron-Jaspers (40-30 in 19) and Zanetti-Martinez (40-29 in 23). Dick Jaspers will remain the nr. 1 on the world ranking, with just 2 more points than Dani Sánchez in second place. Third is Frédéric Caudron, fourth Marco Zanetti.

Two overjoyed Turks, Tayfun Tasdemir and Can Capak, embraced in the arena after their victory over title holder The Netherlands in the final. Turkey became the new European champion for national teams, after a spectacular last two rounds. The seasoned Turk Tasdemir and his younger, up and coming countryman Capak were given a standing ovation.

It was the second title for Tasdemir, the first international success for Capak. ,,I am so proud of our team and so happy for Turkey.''

The Turks dominated the final, the Dutch could not even come close: 40-19 in 14 innings. The fireworks were found in the Turkish semifinal against Greece. The later champion was 30-9 behind, after 15 innings. ,,In the first half, we were completely outplayed'', admitted Tasdemir. The pep talk between the Turks at halftime worked wonders.

The match pivoted, the Turks started an offensive and won the match after a brilliant second half: 40-33 in 22. That win against their 'neighbor' gave them a shot in the arm for the final. The podium was completed by Greece and Denmark.

The ranking of this European championship determines the seeding for the next world championship in Viersen, where for the first time, only sixteen teams will take part.

The very best players in the world when it comes to 1-cushion, battled it out for gold. Belgian Frédéric Caudron was the winner, for the fourth time in a row. Jean Paul de Bruijn, with six European titles to his name, was beaten in the second half of the match. It ended 120-63 in six innings.

These two, the best in their discipline, met on numerous occasion before. The Dutchman ruled from 2001 to 2007 with six victories, Caudron now won his fourth in a row and ninth in total. Caudon said about the development of 1-cushion: ,,We have improved the system in such a way, that during the construction of a run, we hardly ever run into trouble. I call it the Belgian school.''

The champion had already impressed in his semifinal against Raymund Swertz when he made a phenomenal run of 118, missing just two points from the finish because of a butage. The final was evenly balanced at 63-65, when Caudron found perfect control and ran 55 and out. Jean Paul de Bruijn had beaten Raul Cuenca in the other semi, 120-42 in 9 innings.

The 37-year old Spaniard Raul Cuenca crouched over the billiard table crying, with his hands over his face, overcome with emotions after the most glorious moment in his career. He won the final of the 71/2, beating Dave Christiani in a magnificent match: 200-8 in a single inning. His catharsis was endearing, the Spanish player cried for minutes and was first congratulated by his compadre Esteve Mata. ,,My brother in billiards"' he said later.

His first European title and international success was the highlight of the week for Raul, who works as a nurse in a hospital. It was his third medal, having previously won the bronze in 1-cushion and 47/2.

Dave Christiani, silver winner twice in a row in this event, was full of admiration for his opponent. ,,He played just about the best balkline I have ever seen.'' The bronze went to Arnim Kahofer and Esteve Mata.

The Belgian Eddy Leppens and Dutchman Raymund Swertz played a true exhibition match in the final of the 47/2. It came close to perfection: both players demonstrating technique, touch and feel, making their 250 points without missing. The draw in only 1 inning resulted in a shootout, won by Leppens. The 47-year old Belgian won his first European crown, having participated so often already. ,,I first felt like a European champion, in the chair. Then I wasn't, and finally it all got a happy ending'', said Leppens.

There was a remarkable difference in scoring speed between the two finalists. Leppens had a pace of 261 points per hour, Swertz averaged over 400 per hour. Leppens made two points in the shootout, Swertz missed the break. Xavier Grétillat and Raul Cuenca were the bronze winners.

The Turkish title holder in artistic, 61-year old Serdar Gümüs, prolonged his title in an exciting final against 65-year Belgian Walter Bax. The match was levelled by the Turk from Izmir after he was 2-1 down. In the final set, he took the win 31-18.

On the stage were the 20-year old Jop de Jong from the Netherlands, one of the biggest talents ever in this discipline. He was only beaten by Walter Bax in the semi-final, who told him: ,,Don't worry, young man, your time will come soon.'' The other bronze winner was Jean Reverchon.

20-year old Spaniard Carlos Anguita from Los Naranjos won the 3-cushion event under 21. In the final, he beat Frenchman Adrien Tachoire 30-18 in 23. For the reigning Spanish champion, it was the best victory in his young career. Two years ago, he ended third in the European championship.

The Dutch promise Sam van Etten (20) was head and shoulders the best player in the free game under 21. The tall guy from Noord Holland won two of his three matches in a single inning. The final, against Belgian Stefan van Hees took three innings, and it ended 300-17. It was van Etten' s second win in this discipline, he will now transfer to the seniors.

16-year old Frenchman Maxime Panaia won his second consecutive gold in the 3-cushion under 17, on the small table. His final against Italy's Alessio d'Agata had an exciting finish. It ended 30-30 (in 26), and the first shootout ends 1-1.D'Agata then starts with four, and Panaia runs a winning five. During the award ceremony, the young French talent was draped in his national flag.

The title in 3-cushion on the small table was won by 37-year old Radovan Hajek, an airconditioning mechanic from Ostrava in the Czech Republic. The title holder, Kenny Miatton from Belgium, was beaten in the final: 40-26 in 25. Favorites like Eddy Merckx, Birol Uymaz and Ahmet Bayatli had been eliminated earlier.

The European title for club teams in the free game went to BC Oissel from France, with BC Horna from the Netherlands coming in second, BC De Coeck from Belgium third.

Bryan Eelen from Belgium won the title in the free game under 17. He beat Dutchman Leon Dudink in the final: 200-49 in 5 innings.

The final of the pins discipline once again demonstrated how dominant the Italians are, with seven of the last eight players in the field. between one and two million players are regulars of this game in Italy. The Danes were easily beaten in the final match.

The top ten of the medal ranking:
1 Belgium, 4 gold, 4 silver, 1 bronze
2 Italy, 4-2-3
3 France, 2-2-3
4 Spain, 2-0-6
5 Turkey, 2-0-2
6 Netherlands, 1-6-4
7 Czech, 1-0-1
8 Germany, 0-4-5
9 Denmark, 0-1-2
10 Switzerland, 0-0-2.

The Turkish artistic winner Serdar Gümüs took the last gold medal over ten days

All the referees at the European championships

Frédéric Caudron took in the three cushion match on the small table a 35-0 lead against Eddy Merckx

The 5 pins stage for teams with the Italians on top

The Dutch talent in artistic Jop de Jong (20) made his debut at the Europeans with a bronze medal





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