WPA Worlds Underway in Reno
The World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) is conducting three World Championships at once at the Sands Regency Casino Hotel in Reno, Nevada. Here the World Wheelchair and the World Junior Championships for both boys and girls are now underway. As day number one winds down some of the top players in all divisions are facing one another.
In the wheelchair division Jouni Tahti had an excellent beginning to his week with wins over Terry Guess of the USA and Takahiro Terada of Japan. Charlie Hans of the USA first got past Emil Schranz of Austria and then Matel Brajkovic of Slovania to be the second undefeated wheelchair stalwart. These two are joined on the undefeated list by the ever-strong Aaron Aragon (six-time National Champion) and Henrik Larsson.
Over on the boy’s charts Austin Murphy wound up on the wrong end of a double-hill match when he hooked himself on the last three balls. At the same time his stable-mate, Landon Shuffett, lost to McEarl Bucais of Canada 9-7, so the two Americans will have to dig deep to stay in action over the next two days. Another crowd favorite, Albin Ouschan, lost to Nico Wehner of Germany in another hill-hill nail-biter. Defending Champion Pin-Yi Ko is performing as expected. He defeated Marc Bucais of Canada 9-6, then dispatched Nick Tafoya of the USA 9-4 to remain undefeated through day one. Another legend is being created in the Philippines. Young Jerico Banares is undefeated after besting both Roman Pruchai of Russia and Nick Para of New Zealand. He will next face Hirotaka Kihara of Japan, another young man who has won both of his opening day matches.
The young ladies division is particularly tough this year. Some new names are rising to challenge the more established players. Brittany Bryant of Canada has opened her campaign with wins over Karen Garcia of Nicaragua and Chelsea Hardwick of the USA. Brianna Miller of the USA is also without a loss after she took down Javiera Rivera of Nicaragua and Heather Torpin, also of the USA. Philippine National Champion Zemonette Oryan lived up to her billing with a win over Hui Ching Yap of Singapore. But then she stunned the crowd by blanking the well-known Sabrina Naverschnig of Austria 7-0. These three are joined out at the end of the winner’s bracket by Kim Witzel of Austria who first defeated Neidy Castro of Venezuela and then beat back the challenge from Denise Wilkinson of New Zealand. Witzel had enjoyed an early lead at 6-3 but then Wilkinson fought back to tie it up at 6 apiece before Witzel got things going her way again to take the match on the hill, 7-6.
Tuesday will be the first day to find players being eliminated. So everyone goes to sleep tonight with something to fight for. You may follow all the action at www.wpa-pool.com.