Souquet and Fisher lead World Games Gold Medal Winners

Ralf Souquet

The stage was set for a dream ending to the men's 9-ball tournament at the World Games, with Kaohsiung native Ching-shun Yang playing for a gold medal in his home town.

The 31-year-old Yang has a long list of 9-ball titles to his name during an illustrious career, winning gold in the 2001 World Games and the 1998 and 2002 Asian Games, but he was desperately hoping to clinch a major international title at home and seemed poised to fulfill his dream Sunday.

Germany's Ralf Souquet, however, had little interest in sentimentality. Showing the same clinical form he displayed throughout the World Games, Souquet dispatched Yang with relative ease, 11-4, to win the gold medal.

Yang, who said Saturday he had never been as nervous at any tournament in his career as he was at the World Games, looked shaky from the start and failed to raise his level of play throughout the match.

He made a mistake in the very first game and quickly trailed 2-0.

Down 2-1, he was given a temporary reprieve when Souquet made his only mistake of the day, a scratch on the break, to pull even, and then cleared the table on his break to take a 3-2 lead.

But in the sixth game, Yang committed a foul while trying to pot the 1 ball, a mistake that was the beginning of the end.

He scratched off the break in the seventh game, scratched when trying to sink the 2 ball in the eighth game, played a bad safety shot in the ninth game, and didn't pot any balls on his break in the 11th game.

Souquet took advantage of those mistakes and his own clinical breaking and shotmaking to win seven straight games and take a 9-3 lead.

Yang broke the run by potting a nine-ball off the break in the 13th game, one of the few times he broke well on Sunday, but it had little effect in derailing the 1996 9-ball world champion, who won the final two games and the tournament.

"The key was the sixth game," a disappointed Yang said. "If I had sunk the 1 and cleared the table, I might have had a chance to widen the lead. It was just one mistake, but it decided the match."

Yang acknowledged that Souquet was a tough, experienced foe against whom he could ill afford to make any mistakes, and he knew that once the German opened a sizable lead, the match was over.

The Kaohsiung native, nicknamed the "Son of Pool, " also bemoaned his own troubles on the break. "I played my breaks too conservatively, and they didn't turn out well."

In the women's 9-ball final, Allison Fisher of Great Britain won gold with a dramatic win over Austria's Jasmin Ouschan 9-8.

Ouschan had actually pulled even after trailing 8-6 and had the break in the final game, but she scratched, giving Fisher momentum.

Fisher later was forced to play a safety shot, but when Ouschan missed the resulting opportunity, the British "Duchess of Doom" lowered the boom on the Austrian.

In the final of the men's carom competition, Dick Jaspers of the Netherlands had a relatively easy time with Torbjorn Blomdahl of Sweden 40-18 to take the gold medal, while Nigel Bond beat David Grace 3-0 to win the snooker gold in all British affair.