WPA Juniors and Wheelchair Championships Ready to Begin

Jerico Banares

The 2008 World Junior Championships and 2008 World Wheelchair Championship is set to kick off on Monday morning at the Sands Regency Hotel and Casino in Reno, Nevada.

The boys division contains 33 players from 15 different countries, but the main focus of this event is going to be the possible showdown between Taipei's Pin Yi Ko and Jerico Banares from the Philippines. While reigning Junion Champion Ko might have the advantage when it comes to international competition, Banares is riding high after his 9th place finish at the World 10-Ball Championship.

There are 31 other players in the boys event who are looking to bring down Ko and Banares though. Those players include Albin Ouschan, Austin Murphy, Nick Tafoya and Landon Shuffett.

Most of these players are separated on the brackets, but Shuffett and Murphy could be looking at a third round match if they both remain unbeaten.

The girls division features 18 girls from 12 different countries. Reigning champion Mary Rakin is not defending her crown, but both 3rd place finishers are back this year. Germany's Kim Witzel and Austria's Sabrina Navershnig will both be looking to better their finishes from last year, but US Junior Nationals Champion Allison Hardwick and Canda's Brittany Bryant obviously have different ideas as to who will win this event.

The Wheelchair Championship will see 28 players competing from 13 different countries and there is no lack of firepower in this event either.

Six time US Champion Aaron Aragon has to be considered one of the top seeds in this event, but he will see competition from two time World Champion Henrik Larson from Sweden. 2008 European Champion (and former World Champion) Jouni Tahti is here from Finland as well as two time US National Champion Kurt Deklerck from Belgium. Other top seeds will include #1 ranked US Player Bill Frisby, five time US Open 8-ball Champion Charlie Hans, #1 ranked Asian player Terada Takahiro and former World Champions Bob Calderon and Fred Dinsmore.

Play gets underway Monday morning at noon, and we will feature streaming matches from the event later in the week here on AzBilliards.

Complete brackets for all three events will be available online at www.wpapoolonline.com

Photo courtesy of Jojo Lirio