Wirsbitzki Takes the Glory

European Champion 8-ball: Reiner Wirsbitzki (GER) Foto: EPBF/DK

Gold medal in seniors 8-ball for German player

Friday, 12 August 2011: In a hotly contested final match, Reiner Wirsbitzki (GER) wrestled Zoltan Kojsza (HUN) down with a margin of 7:6.

The drama in the screenplay for the final match can hardly be enhanced. Here is what happened: Wirsbitzki got the better start, taking a quick 2:0 lead over Kojsza. He ran both racks without any mistake. Then he scratched on his own break. The next time he was able to approach the table, the score was 2:2. Kojsza has dealt him an adequate answer. The 5th rack was a turning point for Wirsbitzki. He broke the balls, ran the rack and had position on the 8-ball. But he missed it. “The 8-ball did not really go into the center of the pocket. It was a bit covered by my opponent's object ball. That's why I tried to play it into the left side of the pocket, but I aimed it too far left and therefore missed it”, said Wirsbitzki in an interview after the match. “My power just went down. I had a long day playing pool and I needed to focus on my remaining energy.”

Then the match went on with an odd order. The player who broke made a ball, ran all balls but the last one or ran out of position for the 8-ball, allowing the opponent back to the table and run out the rack. That happened five consecutive times until the score was 5:4 in favour of Kojsza. Then both players took a time out. “During the time-out I believed in my own strength and I knew I could still win this match. I would have the break in a possible 13th rack if it comes to that”, said Wirsbitzki. But after both athletes arrived back from the time-out, Wirsbitzki made another position error and allowed Kojsza to get on the hill, taking a 6:4 lead over him.

Something must have happened with Wirsbitzki at that point in time since he really got back into gear, firing balls in and tying the match at 6:6, making it a hill-hill thriller.

In the 13th rack, Wirsbitzki had the break shot. He did not make any ball and Kojsza found himself with an open table on the road to glory. But he got no position on his third last ball and had to play safety. Wirsbitzki made some balls but then also missed his 3rd last ball. Kojsza came back to the table, made two balls and missed his final object ball. At that point in time one could hear a pin drop in the audience. Tension was so real it could almost be physically felt. Wirsbitzki tried to pocket a ball, missed and luckily hid the cue ball behind one of his remaining object balls. Kojsza let his shoulders down. He knew: “That was it!” He tried to kick his last object ball in but failed to hit it at all. With ball in hand, Wirsbitzki ran the remaining balls and won the final match with 7:6, becoming the new European Champion in Seniors 8-ball. “I am playing pool billiard since 34 years now. When I was on the podium for the first time in my life on the European level and heard the German national anthem being played for me, I had a shiver running down my spine, thinking that I had won an event with so many fine players and achieved the title of a European Champion for the first time in my live”, said a happy Wirsbitzki before leaving the press room with a smile.

Final standings in 8-ball:

1. Reiner Wirsbitzki GER
2. Zoltan Kojsza HUN
3. Pascal Budo BEL, David Plattner SUI
5. Christian Ederl AUT, Manuel Pereira, POR Stefano Bazzana, ITA Steffen Gross GER

The European Championships are hosted by the European Governing Body for Pool, the European Pocket Billiard Federation (EPBF) and organized by International Billiard Promotion (IBP). For further information and reference please go to the federation website www.epbf.com , follow us on twitter @EPBF_News or contact our press office.