WPA Crowns Three New Champs

Aaron Aragon and Charlie Hans

Three new World Champions can now celebrate! The first division to finish today was the junior girls and Brittany Bryant of Canada finished an excellent week with her final victory over Konishi Samia of Japan. Ms. Bryant began her day with a convincing 7-3 win over Sabrina Naverschnig of Austria. But her championship match would prove to be no walkover. She and Samia stayed close through most of the match and it wound up going to double-hill before Samia, who had an easy run ahead of her, was called for a foul when her hair fell and brushed a ball. With ball-in-hand Bryant cruised through the remaining balls to become World Champion.

Our new Wheelchair Champion is Aaron Aragon of the USA. Mr. Aragon had a very tough semi-final match against Fred Dinsmore of Ireland. They went to double-hill but Aragon controlled the final rack and pulled out the win 11-10. Then he went on to face new Hall of Fame inductee Charlie Hans, who had defeated Jouni Tahti of Finland 11-7 to earn his berth. The match between Aragon and Hans went back and forth and was tight until Aragon pulled out to a three game lead near the end. Hans fought back until the match was at 11-10. Then Aragon caught a higher gear and won the next two racks to take his World Title 13-10.

The boy's junior final was eagerly anticipated by the fans. The matchup between Pin-Yi Ko of Taiwan and Jerico Banares of the Philippines had been forecast by many to be the expected final and both had their share of supporters in the stands. Mr. Banares entered the final arena after taking down Norio Ogawa of Japan 9-4 while Mr. Ko dispatched Manuel Ederer of Germany 9-5. In their finals match neither player could grab an early edge and the match never saw more than a single game advantage and was tied at 4, 5 and 6 games apiece.

Mr. Banares break shot then began to fail him and he had two dry breaks in a row. Mr. Ko took full advantage and pulled out to a 9-6 lead on the heels of this fortune. In the next game Banares missed a tough shot on the 8 ball that brought Ko to the hill. Banares then won the next two racks to get closer at 10-8 but then in the next rack Ko played a safety on the seven ball that gave him ball-in-hand and he ran out to take the win and the title! Pin-Yi Ko repeats as Champion of the World.

We would like to again thank all of the companies and organizations who made this event possible. Please send your business to: The Sands Regency Hotel Casino, Simonis Cloth, Predator Cues, Seyberts.com, the American Poolplayers Association, the Paralyzed Veterans Association, Hustlin' USA Clothing Co., Tonkin Cues, Mueller Recreational Products, Viking Cues, the National Wheelchair Poolplayers Association, the WPA, the BCA and a special thanks to our host, the United States Pool Players Association.

Photos courtesy of Jojo Lirio