World championships return to France

BORDEAUX - The world championship in the most popular discipline in carom billiards returns to France for the first time after fifteen years. The Palais des Congrès de Bordeaux will be turned into a billiard arena, where 48 players, including all the top players in three cushion, are in the spotlights this year from 1 to 5 December.

The UMB (Union Mondiale de Billard) has awarded the organization of the World championship for the next two years to the Multimedia Company Kozoom from Bordeaux, which enjoys a considerable reputation in the billiard world and is responsible for the Internet broadcast of all World championships, World Cups and other big three-cushion tournaments in the world.

Kozoom CEO Xavier Carrer, organizer and tournament director, pondered in the weeks of preparation: ,,The nights are getting shorter and we can feel the stress coming in the months before the D-day. On the other hand, we have a great organizing committee with big skills and network. It's very exciting to build partnerships with other media, private and institutional partners to promote our sport. The three cushion and the worldwide dimension of the event are taken serious by our interlocutors. This makes me confident for the future.’’

The main goal, he continues, is to see the 1000 seats in the venue filled in Bordeaux. ,,I would be proud of that. Proud to show that our sport in our old Europe can do it in a big way.’’

For visitors to the World championship: the organizing city: Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne River in the Gironde department in southwestern France. The municipality of Bordeaux has a population of 241.287.

Together with its suburbs and satellite towns, it is the center of the Bordeaux Métropole, which has 737.492 inhabitants and is the 9th largest city in France.

The nicknames of the city are 'La Perle d'Aquitaine’ (Pearl of Aquitaine) and 'La Belle Endormie’ (Sleeping Beauty).

Fernando Requena, president of UMB: ,,To participate in a World championship in France is a very special event for the players and officials. It is in France where our sport was developed into the current status. Somehow, it always gives me the feeling that I am at home. And in this specific case, when the French federation and CEB applied for this three cushion World championship with Kozoom as organizer and Xavier Carrer as director, there was no doubt that this event was in professional hands. And that success and spectacle were guaranteed, thanks to a team of billiard loving people, that will present our sport to a broad audience and with high level exposure. The French organizers will warmly welcome the players and provide them with the support they need.’’

For the tournament in Bordeaux, the reigning world champion, Korean Sung-Won Choi and sixteen players from the top of the ranking are automatically seeded. Furthermore, the European federation (CEB) selected thirteen players, CPB (America) eight, ACBC (Asia) six and ACC (Africa) two players.

Sung-Won Choi won the world title last year at home in the final against Torbjörn Blomdahl (40-37 in 20 innings). Frédéric Caudron did the same, the year before in Antwerp.

Nine players from the 48 in the field of participants in Bordeaux are former world champions: Torbjörn Blomdahl, Dani Sánchez, Dick Jaspers, Eddy Merckx and Marco Zanetti, Frédéric Caudron, Sung-Won Choi, Ryuuji Umeda and Semih Sayginer.

The top sixteen of the field, with Sung-Won Choi as defending champion, are Torbjörn Blomdahl (Sweden), Eddy Merckx (Belgium) Dick Jaspers (Netherlands), Tayfun Tasdemir (Turkey), Dani Sánchez (Spain), Marco Zanetti (Italy) Frédéric Caudron (Belgium), Jae Ho Cho (Korea), Hyung Bum Hwang (Korea), Jung Han Heo (Korea), Roland Forthomme (Belgium), Sameh Sidhom (Egypt), Jean Paul de Bruijn (Netherlands), Dong Koong Kang (Korea), Quyet Chien Tran (Vietnam) and Pedro Piedrabuena (America).

Two wildcards were given by the organization to Jean Reverchon (France) and Semih Sayginer (Turkey).

Furthermore invited on behalf of the federations:

The European players: Michael Nilsson (Sweden), Adnan Yüksel (Turkey), Nick Polychronopoulos (Greece), Jan Alles (Czech Republic), Christian Rudolph (Germany), Jérémy Bury (France), Eddy Leppens (Belgium), Ruben Legazpi (Spain), Jean van Erp (Netherlands), Arnim Kahofer (Austria), Dion Nelin (Denmark), Christakis Christoforou (Cyprus), Cetin Behzat (Switzerland).

The Americas: Huberney Catano (Colombia), Andres Lizarazo (Colombia), Christopher Tevez (Peru), Juan Pablo Sisterna (Argentina), Erick Tellez (Costa Rica), Cayo Bardales (Peru), Luis Aveiga (Ecuador), Miguel Torres ( America).

The Asians: Ryuuji Umeda (Japan), Tatsuo Arai (Japan), Xuan Cuong Ma (Vietnam), Anh Vu Duong (Vietnam), Hyung Kon Kim (Korea), Kim Jae Guen (Korea).

The African: Ihab El Messery (Egypt), Riad Nady (Egypt).

Coincidentally, also the first-ever World championship in three cushion was organized in 1928 in France: the Egyptian Edmond Soussa, 29 years old, defeated seven opponents in a round robin and finished with the best average: 0552. The tournament average was 0.460.

Five times in history, the World championship three-cushion was organized in France, in Reims in 1928 (Soussa), in Vichy in 1932 (Hendrik Robijns), in Aix-les-Bains in 1983 (Raymond Ceulemans), in Rèze-les Nantes in 1998 (Dani Sánchez) and in Saint Etienne in 2000 (Dick Jaspers).

The only French world champion in history was Alfred Lagache in 1935 and 1937. Richard Bitalis was second behind Raymond Ceulemans in 1983.

The undisputed record holder in world titles is Raymond Ceulemans, who won his first title in Neuss in 1963, then took ten titles in a row and was the world’s best in three cushion twenty times.

The website of the organization of the World Cup: http://www.kozoom.com/event/worldchampionship/en/index.html

(c) 2019 Union Mondiale de Billard