Archive Page

Chinese Taipei’s Pin-Yi Ko wins All Japan Championship for the second time; Akimi Kajitani takes Women’s title

Thorsten Hohmann, Pin Yi Ko, Jung Lin Chang and Johann Chua (Courtesy of Chinese Taipei Billiards)

Two years ago, Chinese Taipei’s Pin-Yi Ko was on a bit of a roll. It was his best (recorded) year, financially. He won the Guinness World Series of Pool in July that year, defeating Shane Van Boening in the finals. He went on in November to chalk up his first All Japan Championship, downing China’s Jia-Qing Wu (at one time, a high school classmate of his). The two victories represented 80% of his $87,500 (reported) year at the tables.

During the week of November 18-24, Ko joined 127 male competitors from around the world in the 45th Annual All Japan Championship, held in Archaic Hall in Amagasaki, Japan. Ko went  went undefeated to chalk up his second All Japan Championship, defeating fellow countryman Jung-Lin Chang in the finals.
In the Women’s Division finals, Japan’s Kajitani Akimi defeated fellow countrywoman Kawahara Chihiro to capture her first All Japan title. Unlike Ko in the Men’s event, though, Akimi had to come from the loss side of the 59-entrant field, during the double elimination portion of the event to win that title.
In the Men’s event, it took three winners’ side matches for competitors to reach the 64-entrant, single-elimination field and Ko did so with victories over Japan’s Norio Ogawa, Tachiki Toshinobu and Iwase Kengo. Among the international players entering the single elimination field from the winners’ side were John Morra and Rodney Morris. Dennis  Orcollo, Francisco Bustamante, Thorsten Hohmann, Efren Reyes, Carlo Biado, Mika Immonen, Alex Pagalayun, and Lee Van Corteza were among those who played a “one and done,” loss-side match to advance to the single-elimination final 64.
Ko downed Biado 11-9 to open his single elimination proceedings and then went on to defeat Singapore’s Aloysius Yapp and China’s Han Hao Xiang, to move among the final 16. Joining him were Hohmann, Lee Van Corteza (who’d eliminated Reyes), and The Iceman, Mika Immonen (who’d eliminated Morra). Along the way, Reyes had downed Orcollo, Japan’s Nishio Tasuka had finished Bustamante’s bid for a second All Japan title, and “The Lion” was dropped in the opening round by Korea’s Jeong Young Hwa.
In the final eight, Ko defeated Japan’s Kitatani Yoshihiro 11-8, Hohmann downed the Philippines’ Jeffrey Ignacio 11-3, Jung-Lin Chang ended Van Corteza’s bid 11-3 and The Iceman fell to the Philippines’ Johann Gonzales Chua 11-8.
It was Ko who eliminated Thorsten Hohmann 11-6 in one semifinal. Jung-Lin Chang defeated Chua, double hill, advancing to the finals against Ko. The two finalists battled to double hill, as well, before Ko completed his undefeated run to capture his second All Japan title.
In the Women’s event, Akimi overcame a short trip to the loss side in the double elimination phase, and defeated Japan’s Ebe Kaori (9-2) and Fujiwara Kazuko, double hill, to move among the final eight. The two semifinal matches pitted Chinese Taipei against Japan, as Akimi met up with Chieh-Yu Chou, and Kawahara (Japan) faced off against Pei-Chen Tsai.
Akimi defeated Chou 9-6, and was met in the finals by Chihiro, who eliminated Tsai 9-7. Akimi took the final match 9-7 over Chihiro to claim her first All Japan title.