On Sunday the final decisions were made at the European Billiards Championships in Brandenburg an der Havel/Germany. The highlight was the final of the 3-Cushions-competition for National Teams.
Belgium and Spain made it to the final and at the beginning the match between Frédéric Caudron/Eddy Merckx and Daniel Sanchez/Ruben Legazpi wasn’t as world class as expected. After seven innings the score was 12:10 in favor of the Belgian duo, followed by a sudden the increase in pace. Caudron/Merckx made a run of nine points which gave them in a comfortable lead.
After a short five-minute-break the match continued and in the eleventh inning Belgium ran another eleven points, and only one inning later they reached the 40 point finish.
Sanchez/Legazpi had ony 19 points on their account but they still had the chance of another run. Sanchez made the opening shot but seconds later Legazpi missed the next one to make Belgium the new European Champion.
In the semifinals earlier today the Spaniards delivered an absolute gala performance against the Danish representation. Sanchez/Legazpi not only ran ten points in a row, they also played consistently throughout the entire match, winning by 40:7 after eleven innings and an average of 3.636. Dion Nelin and his colleague Thomas Andersen had to be satisfied with the bronze medal – along with the German team.
Martin Horn and Ronny Lindemann had a great comeback in the quarterfinal against The Netherlands with European champion Dick Jaspers and his partner Raymund Burgman. After being down 20:30, they were able to turn the match and moved into the semifinals.
However in this match they didn’t have much to order against the Belgian duo. The decision was made in the 13th inning when Caudron/Merckx managed a 12-point run and increased the score to 35:15. A little later, the final score of 40:22-points was set.
European champion in the women's 3-cushions-event is Therese Klompenhouwer. The Dutchwoman had already been mentioned as the top favorite in the run-up and the throughout whole tournament she lived up to this role. In a very one-sided final, especially at the beginning, she took the lead 16:0 after only a few innings. Then Klompenhouwer took it a bit easier and her Turkish opponent Guzin Mujde Karakasli also scored a few points. After 25 innings Klompenhouwer had reached the necessary thirty points and Karakasli was only able to reduce the gap by a bit. The final result was 30:16-points.
Both in third place were Irena Hamblakova (Czech Republic) and Andras Hofman (Netherlands), who were clearly defeated in their respective semi-finals. For the German Steffi Daske the dream of a medal was over after a 22:28-defeat against Hamblakova in the quarterfinals.
New European champion in 3-cushions on the small table is Omer Karakurt from Turkey who almost overrun Steven van Acker from Belgium. After five innings the score was 17:14 in favor of Karakurt and it looked like the spectators could expect a very close and thrilling final. They didn’t ask Karakurt for his opinion on that, in turn six he ran a great series of 15 points and took a comfortable lead. Just three innings later he reached the finish line and crowned himself as European Champion with a final score of 40:17.
The two bronze medals went to the Czechs Ivo Gazdos and the Frenchman Gregory Le Deventec.
Also today there was the launch of a demonstration competition for wheelchair players. In total four athletes from Belgium and the Netherlands participated and showed what they are able to do despite their handicaps. This year the focus of this event wasn’t the competition, but the presentation of an unusual sporting activity away from the mainstream. This was very well done due to the great frame parallel to the above mentioned finals.
The European Championships ended today with the closing ceremony. For the fourth time in row this major event took place in Brandenburg an der Havel and it remains to be noted that the public interest has never been so great locally, as well as nationally and internationally. Encouraged by the number of spectators on site, the livestream and, of course, the media presence at the venue. TV-stations were seen in the Stahlpalast on several days and two live-interviews were broadcasted on a radio station.
The Continental Confederation CEB hopes to be able to host the European Championships of all disciplines again in 2021 in Brandenburg an der Havel. In the coming year, there will be decentralized competitions, but the wish for a return in two years has been clearly communicated.