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Jaspers Dazzles on his Way to World Games Gold

Dick Jaspers

Dick Jaspers of the Netherlands has had a long and storied career in the billiards disciple of carom three-cushion, having won the World and European Three-cushion Championships as well as the Three-Cushion World Cup five times.

The only event where the 56-year-old had not secured as much hardware was at the World Games, having earned two silvers and a gold in six attempts but having not earned anything since the 2009 games in Taiwan.

The Dutchman ended his drought in spectacular fashion Sunday morning at this year’s iteration of the World Games in Birmingham, overcoming an early deficit against Colombia’s Jose Juan Garcia with multiple long scoring breaks and putting away his opponent, 40-19 in front of an enthusiastic crowd.

“This is maybe the highest medal you can win because these are the Olympics for us,” said Jaspers after the match. “So, I think it makes my career perfect. I had won a lot in my life and this makes it really extra special.”

Jasper faced an opponent in Garcia who was playing with nothing to lose, having already guaranteed that Colombia – a country more known for its coffee than its carom – would be taking home a medal by reaching the championship. Garcia was one of two Colombian players who exhibited inspiring play throughout the week, with fellow countryman Pedro Gonzalez also reaching the semifinals and losing to Garcia yesterday.

The Colombian came out firing to open the match, connecting on seven straight points to build an early lead.

“I’m facing the number one in the world,” said Garcia. “I know he’s a the best so before my match, I knew I had to try my best.”

“He’s a rising star and he started well with seven so he was immediately he was in the game,” said Jaspers “So, I have to play my own style, my own game, and I think my concentration is also strong side of me. Maybe it could help.”

Jaspers picked away at the deficit early, using a three and two-point break to narrow the lead to 7-6, then overtook his opponent with a five-point break to build a 12-7 advantage. After Garcia put up a four-pointer of his own to draw within 12-11, the Dutchman closed out the first half of play with a nine-point break to increase his lead to 21-11. After Garcia opened the second half with a point to cut the lead to nine, Jaspers went on an eight-point break then tacked on three more points in the next inning to push his lead to 32-13. He all-but clinched the match in the ninth inning when he tacked on a six-point break to push the lead to a nearly insurmountable 39-14.

Meanwhile, Garcia struggled to put up points after his opening inning barrage, accumulating just three in the four three innings after the intermission compared to Jasper’s 18.

“I tried my best in the middle and the end of the match but the ball didn’t hold me for the second or third points,” said Garcia. “He was too good to do something against.”

When Jaspers struck his final three-rail shot and saw that the cue ball was about to connect for the game-winner, he raised his hands in triumph before the balls even touched each other. The celebration was in relief as well as celebration.

“I’m also happy it’s over,” he said tongue-in-cheek. “I need a break. I need a holiday now because we play so many events. But it’s fantastic to go back to my country with a gold medal and it’s my second medal.”

The Dutchman was stellar all week, opening competition Tuesday morning with a high break of 16 as he defeated Pedro Piedrabuena of the United States 40-11 in the opening round-of-16, then eliminating Sweden’s Torbjorn Blomdahl 40-20 to advance to the semifinals. Jaspers then used an 11-point break to take a commanding leading against Belgium’s Eddy Merckx to advance to the finals.

The match schedule and results are at

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Merckx Is Carom Bronze Medal Winner

Eddy Merckx

Five-time Three-Cushion World Cup champion Dick Jaspers of the Netherlands used a nine-point break in the first half of his semifinal match against Eddy Merckx of Belgium to jump out to a 23-8 advantage at the break and sail to a 40-13 victory Saturday morning.

Jaspers opened play with an 11-point break, then added breaks of five and six points to build a 23-8 advantage at the intermission.

“It was indeed a good start,” said Jaspers. “Normally, my start is not that good. My finish is normally better than my start. That was for me a happy thing.”

Merckx opened the second half with a five-point break of his own to cut the deficit to 25-13 but could not get closer, as Jaspers executed a seven-point break to push his lead to a commanding 36-13.

The victory guaranteed Jaspers first medal at the World Games since 2009, having competed in the previous three versions of the games and failing to finish in the tip three.

Jaspers will meet Jose Juan Garcia, who used a long break to establish a big lead on opponent and fellow countryman Pedro Gonzalez then held off a potential comeback with another extended break to close out the match, 40-23.

Garcia jumped out to an early 16-1 advantage then used a nine-point break take a 25-1 lead into the intermission. From there, however, the Colombian struggled to put together any momentum, as Gonzalez chipped away at the lead, using a five-point run to cut the lead to 33-16, then tacking on a couple more to trim the deficit to 33-19. Garcia would ultimately find his gear, scoring six straight to push his advantage back to 39-19 and closing out the match.

“I accumulated a lot of points in the first half and it was a lot of defensive shots in the second half,” said Garcia.

In the bronze medal match later in the day, Merckx jumped out to a 21-12 advantage at the break and then used a couple of late breaks to coast to a 40-24 victory.

With the win, Merckx earns his first World Games medal since a silver medal in 2013.

“It’s very nice, of course, to earn a medal for that,” said Merckx. “That’s why we come here and that’s why we make the trip.”

The Olympic Channel is live streaming The World Games and billiards will feature on July 16 and July 17 when the finals take place. A full streaming schedule and links are at The match schedule, results, and live scores are at

Follow @wcbsbilliards on social media for full coverage of the billiards program from our team in Birmingham, Alabama.

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Garcia & Gonzalez Setup All-Colombian Semi-Final

Jose Juan Garcia

Jose Juan Garcia 40, Tran Quyet Chieh 26

The improvement in the quality of play in cue sports in South America has been noticeable in recent years.

This spring, Peru’s Christopher Tevez and advanced all the way to the finals of the Predator World 10-Ball championship and fellow countryman Gerson Martinez Bosa as well as Argentina’s Ariel Casto have been known in recent years to take down a major champion from time to time.

Now, the continent has another bullet point on its expanding resume, with Colombia’s Jose Juan Garcia and Pedro Gonzalez advancing to the semifinals of the carom three-cushion competition of the World Games in Birmingham. Playing in his first World Games, Garcia used a workmanlike consistency to collect points against Vietnam’s Tran Quyet Chieh, who is ranked number three in the world. The two previously met in Los Angeles a couple of months earlier with Chieh emerging victorious.

“It gave me motivation, not for revenge to pass the last final and give me the concentration and power to finish the match,” said Garcia.

Garcia only amassed one break of five straight points through the match but was consistently able to rack up two-or-three points at a clip as his opponent usually couldn’t score much more than a single point in an inning.

“I’m really happy,” he said. “This is very special for me.”

Pedro Gonzalez 40, Kouji Funaki 24

Pedro Gonzalez implemented a similar style as his countryman on his way to a 40-24 victory over Japan’s Kouji Funaki in the quarterfinals of the World Games carom three-cushion tournament Friday evening.

Much like Garcia, Gonzalez was unable to go on a long break in order to rack up points, instead tacking on two-or-three at a clip while building a 10-point shortly after the halfway intermission. Trailing 28-15, Funaki would use a three-point and two-point break to cut the lead to 29-20 but that was as close as he would get, with Gonzalez using a three-point and four-point run to increase his lead to 38-20 and continue to apply pressure to Funaki, who defeated Marco Zanetti in the opening round of play.

Funaki would tack on two straight points to cut the lead to 39-22, but was unable to cut into the lead any further, as Gonzalez ended the match in the next frame with a single point.

The Olympic Channel is live streaming The World Games and billiards will feature on July 16 and July 17 when the finals take place. A full streaming schedule and links are at The match schedule, results, and live scores are at

Follow @wcbsbilliards on social media for full coverage of the billiards program from our team in Birmingham, Alabama.

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Gonzalez, Funaki Reach Quarter-Finals of The World Games

Pedro Gonzalez

Pedro Gonzalez 40, Sameh Sidhom 34

Colombia’s Pedro Gonzalez made the most of his first appearance in the World Games, using two breaks of five points to jump out to an early lead and defeat Egypt’s Sameh Sidhom, 40-34, in a tight opening round-of-16 match Thursday evening in Birmingham.

Sidhom took an early 4-1 advantage but Gonzalez would quickly obtain a lead that he would not relinquish although the Egyptian continued to apply pressure. When the Colombian built an 11-point lead, his opponent used a 7-point break of his own to cut the deficit to a single point. However, Sidhom was never able to overtake his opponent, as the Egyptian battled a case of nerves.

“I felt like I was too stressed for the situation that I was in,” said Sidhom “I put myself under too much pressure than I should have been under.”

Kouji Funaki 40, Marco Zanetti 23

Japan’s Kouji Funaki used breaks of six, seven, nine and five points to jump out to a sizable second-half lead and defeat Italy’s Marco Zanetti in the opening round of three-cushion play Thursday evening.

After taking a brief intermission, Funaki broke the match open with a run of nine points which allowed him to build a 33-18 lead.

“After the timeout, I made a big run and that was key,” said Funaki.

Fanetti rattled off five straight points of his own to trim the deficit to 10 points but was unable to pull any closer, as Kouji used a five-point run to close out the match.

The early exit for Zanetti will means that the Italian will not be leaving the World Games with a medal for the first time in four attempts, having earned silver in Poland in 2017, Gold in Colombia in 2013 and a bronze in Taiwan in 2009.

“This game can be easy or very difficult,” Zanetti said. “This time for me it was not running the way I wish. Let’s say the luck was not on my side today and my opponent was playing very strong.”

The Olympic Channel is live streaming The World Games and billiards will feature on July 16 and July 17 when the finals take place. A full streaming schedule and links are at The match schedule, results, and live scores are at

Follow @wcbsbilliards on social media for full coverage of the billiards program from our team in Birmingham, Alabama.

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Dick Jaspers Victorious in Las Vegas World Cup

Final awards ceremony

Dick Jaspers continued his march of devastation through the three-cushion world by securing a 50 to 43 victory over Sameh Sidhom of Egypt in the finals of the 2022 Las Vegas World Cup. With the win, the Dutch master notched his third consecutive victory on the world stage. Having won the World Championship in December 2021 in Egypt and the Ankara World Cup in January 2022, Jaspers secured his position as the number one ranked player in the world. Jaspers, a few months shy of his 57th birthday, also exorcized a demon of his past. In 2003, the last time the World Cup was held in the United States, also in Las Vegas, Jaspers lost in the final to Samih Sayginer of Turkey. This time, he would not be denied the trophy.

Sponsored by Predator, the Las Vegas World Cup was held at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Resort from March 27 to April 2. It is one of 6 World Cup tournaments to be played in 2022 under the auspices of the Union Mondiale de Billard (UMB), the world governing body for carom billiards. The first World Cup was held in Ankara, Turkey in January, and the next one will be held in Vietnam in May, followed by tournaments in Korea, the Netherlands, and Egypt. Each World Cup has 149 players. Seventeen players are seeded in the final 32 players: the 14-highest ranked players, 2 wild cards from the organizer, and 1 wild card from the UMB. The other 15 players qualify through a series of four qualifying rounds: PPPQ, PPQ, PQ and Q. The final 32 players are placed into 8 groups of 4 (A to H). After a round robin play, the top 2 in each group advance to a knockout (single elimination) bracket of 16 players. The winner in each world cup receives 16000€ and 80 ranking points. Second place takes home 10000€ and earns 54 ranking points. A total of 106,500€ is awarded in prize money.

Jaspers reached the finals without a blemish on his record, winning three games in Group A. In the first round of the knockout phase, Jaspers squeaked out a win over Murat Coklu of Turkey, 50 to 48. The game was mere prelude. Having found his stroke, the Dutch wizard dispatched Marco Zanetti of Italy 50 to 17 in 17 innings for a 2.941 average, the best game in the main draw. In the semi-finals, Jaspers scored 38 billiards in 10 middle innings and topped Haeng Jik Kim of Korea 50 to 31 in 26 (1.923). 

Sidhom’s run to the finals was equally impressive. He emerged from Group F with victories over Belgians Eddy Merckx and Roland Forthomme, and a tie with Huberney Catano of Colombia. In his game against Merckx, Sidhom made 40 in 18 innings for a 2.222 average. He made 40 in 20 innings for a 2.000 average in a victory over the other Belgian, and defeated Quyet Chien Tran of Vietnam 50 to 38 in 34 innings. In the quarter finals, Sidhom battled with Pedro Piedrabuena of the United States, securing a 50 to 43 victory in a strategic game. In the semi-finals, Sidhom, with a high runoff 11, bested Jeremy Bury of France, 50 to 39 in 29 innings for a 1.724 average. 

In the finals, Sidhom jumped to a 13 to 3 lead, but then stalled, the points becoming harder to get. He limped for several innings, and Jaspers caught up at 14 after a run of 9. The players traded billiards for several innings. After 15 innings, they were notched at 21, each player showing some nerves. Jaspers was able to calm himself and pushed ahead, building a steady lead through the middle innings. The Egyptian cueist tried to cling to his opponent, but Jaspers continued to build his lead. At 44 to 36, Jaspers made 3, putting victory in sight. Sidhom responded with creative shot making and a run of 6, before missing a short-short-short from an impossible diagonal position. After the run, it was clear that Sidhom’s perseverance, creativity, and mental toughness had won over the crowd, but bad-to-impossible leaves of the balls eventually proved too much for the young dentist from Cairo. 

Jaspers stepped to the table, his white ball in the corner and balls 2 and 3 at the opposite end of the table. He pondered the position as the shot clock ticked down. With 4 seconds left, he played an up and down—short, short, long—clipping both balls after the third rail. After a missed double the rail, the balls rested in another impossible position. Sidhom played the shot of the game, a bounce-back five cushion for his 43rd point, but the balls would not cooperate. After Sidhom missed from a difficult leave, Jaspers closed out with a run of 2, securing his 27th World Cup victory. The crowd erupted into applause for the victor, but the audience also showed its appreciation for the second-place winner with a long ovation, and the 35-year-old Egyptian was emotionally moved by the acknowledgment.

America had 34 players compete in the World Cup, a dozen more than its allotment. America was the recipient of bad luck by the Vietnamese contingent, who could not secure Visas for all their players. At the last minute, 10 players from the Asian country dropped out, opening the door for eager American three-cushion enthusiasts. The highest finish of a United States player was accomplished by Pedro Piedrabuena of San Diego. The multiple-time US National champion was selected by Predator as one of its two wild card selections. Seeded into the final 32 players, Piedrabuena won his group with two victories and a tie, thereby advancing to the knockout phase. In the first round, Piedrabuena met an old foe, Torbjörn Blomdahl of Sweden. The American played a marvelous game, leaving the six-time world champion bad position after bad position. With a sprint at the end, Piedrabuena came out on top, 50 to 38 in 30 innings (1.666). In the quarter finals, Piedrabuena played another spirted game, but ended up on the wrong side of the ledger, losing to Sidhom 50 to 43 in 27 innings. For his efforts, Piedrabuena finished 6th in the final rankings, adding 26 points to his world ranking.

Predator’s other wild card selection, Hugo Patiño of New York, failed to get out of his group in the main draw. Drawn into Group C, Patiño struggled in a loss against Blomdahl, losing 40 to 23 in 23 innings. He fared better against Pedro Gonzalez of Colombia, winning 40 to 27 in 29 innings. Patiño’s best game came in a losing effort against Dani Sanchez of Spain, who notched 40 in 20 innings to Patiño’s 30 also in 20 innings. Patiño finished with a very respectable grand average of 1.291 but could do no better than 3rd in the group. Patiño finished 24th in the final rankings. 

Piedrabuena and Patiño were not the only Americas to shine on the Las Vegas stage. Hometown player Frank Torres, now well into his 70s, made a glorious run, advancing from the PPQ round to the Q round before falling short of the main draw. The Silver Fox, who finished 2nd in the 1987 world championship, finished 50th with a grand average of 0.907 and a best-game average of 1.235. Jesus Corona, from Las Angeles, had the high run for the entire tournament, a 16 made in the PPQ round. 

The World Cup will return to Las Vegas the next three years, again sponsored by Predator.

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