Opening Medals Decided in European Youth Straight Pool Championship

Lazar Kostic (Serbia)

The opening two events concluded on Thursday afternoon at the 41st annual Dynamic Billard European Pool Championships for Youth and it was Germany and Serbia who claimed the first two gold medals. Taking place in the southern Bulgarian town of Petrich, the initial two days of play saw the destination of the Under 17s and Under 19s straight pool medals.

The 2022 Dynamic Billards European Championship Youth comprises 14 separate events across four disciplines – 8, 9 and 10 ball as well as straight pool – plus the male and female team competitions. In total there are three divisions; male U19, male U17 and female U19. In total, there are 111 competitors in attendance – 19 girls, 57 boys in the U17 division and 35 boys in the U19.

In the Under 17 competition, there were 44 competitors representing 19 countries and it was Serbia’s Lazar Kostic who claimed gold as he defeated Michal Wiech (Poland) 75-20 in the championship match. Lazar played a full set of disciplines in the 2021 Europeans, finishing no better than the round of 16, but a year down the line he was absolutely ready for the challenge.

A win over Norway’s Didrik Voga Berg put him into the Winners’ Qualification round but a defeat there against Sweden’s Walter Laikre (75-50) scuppered Kostic’s hopes of a smooth run. He bounced back well, though, beating Norway’s Robin Hauge Pettersen to reach the single elimination last 16 stages.

Wins over Jokubas Silantjevas (LIT) and Finland’s highly-rated Riku Romppanen guaranteed at least a bronze medal but a semi-final win over Mykola Moroz (Ukraine) set up the title-winning match against Michal Wiech. It was a highly commendable run of performances from the Polish boy though, playing in his first ever European Championships at the age of 14, and his silver medal winning effort surely must indicate that there is gold in his future. Bronze medals went to the aforementioned Moroz as well as Davide Sini of Italy.

Yuma Dorner (Germany)

Germany’s Yuma Dorner was triumphant in the Under 19 event as he edged out Netherland’s Yannick Pongers for the gold medal. Both players entered the final with plenty of European Championship form on their respective resumés. In 2021, 18-year-old Dorner took a silver in the 8 ball bracket whilst Pongers (17) took gold and silver in 9 ball and 10 ball respectively, that time in the U17 division.

Dorner ran undefeated as far as the Winners’ Qualification round before unravelling against Poland’s Wiktor Fortunski by 73-100. A comfortable win against Luca Montanari (Italy) eased him into the knock-out stages and a victory over Poland’s Szymon Kural guaranteed a podium finish. The young German saved his best win for the semi-final as he got the better of compatriot Eric Mattern by 100-28 to set up the gold medal match against Pongers.

Despite being the junior of the two, Pongers carried plenty of experience into the final, having played in all four divisions at the Men’s European Championship earlier in the year as well as several Euro Tour events including a superb 5th place finish at the Antalya Open in 2021.

Pongers enjoyed a dominating run to the final. Undefeated he won his four matches to 84, 6, 37 and 24 before beating Slovakia’s Kristian Mrva 100-18 in the semi-final. On that form he looked to be a solid favourite to take the title but Dorner had something to say about that as he came through by 100-75 for a wonderful victory.

Bronze medals went to Eric Mattern (GER) and Kristian Mrva (SLO).

Play continues today (Thursday) in the 10 ball events with all three categories playing to a finish on Saturday evening.

All matches can be viewed live at www.kozoom.com as well as selected matches on the EPBF’s Facebook page.

Results, live scoring and draws are available at
www.epbf.com/tournaments/european-championships/

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