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Arnim Kahofer overjoyed with third European title


Published by frits bakker

© Morgan Delame/Kozoom
The podium with left to right Xavier Leroy, Raymund Swertz, Arnim Kahofer, Willy Gérimont

CERVERA - In the year he turns 50, Arnim Kahofer has won his most wonderful title. The Austrian all-round player became European champion in one cushion in the Spanish city of Cervera this Wednesday night by beating Frenchman Xavier Leroy 120-107 in 19 innings in the final. On the podium, Arnim celebrated his victory with visible emotion and thanked his father Gerhardt, who's over eighty, and girlfriend Fosca for the great support. The numbers 3 were Raymund Swertz and Willy Gérimont. Arnim Kahofer has a record of dozens of podium finishes in four disciplines. At European level, it was a long time since he won a gold medal. That was for the first time in Chemnitz, Germany, in 1997 in free game mode. Seven years later, Kahofer became European champion in Mataro, Spain, in balkline 47/2. Like many other classical players, Kahofer switched mainly to three-cushion in the last decade, in which he often appears in World Cups and championships. With his country, Arnim was among others second with Andreas Efler at the 2019 World Nation Team Championships in Viersen.

Besides being a successful billiards player, the likeable Austrian is a stylish dancer, having won a major Salsa event in his country about five years ago with his regular dance partner. Therefore, Arnim earned a trip to Cuba. He won the European 47/2 ahead of Xavier Gretillat and Louis Edelin in a field of players in which many still played at the European Championships today, such as Raul Cuenca, Marek Faus, Esteve Mata, Patrick Niessen and Joan Espinasa. Kahofer won the European free game in Germany ahead of Fonsy Grethen and Martin Horn.

The third European title, in the first of three tournaments this week in Cervera (starting tomorrow 47/2, followed by 71/2) took Kahofer with 9 match points, 8.44 on average and a highest run of 50. Xavier Leroy, the other finalist, achieved 10 match points, 7.89 average and a run of 45.

The Austrian started his tournament with a draw against Patrick Niessen in 13 innings, then won against Antoni Gutierrez and grabbed next to the group win by losing against Jean Paul de Bruijn 100-82 in 8 innings. Success opened up for Kahofer in the knockouts, in which he won in the quarter-finals against Joan Espinasa 120-77 in 10, in the semi-finals against Willy Gérimont 120-75 in 9 and finally in the final against Xavier Leroy 120-107 after a game in which Kahofer took a 79-49 lead, Leroy fought back to 85-79, but Kahofer grabbed the win in the exhilarating final after 107-107 with a run of 13. The Frenchman missed the equalizing inning.

Xavier Leroy, in his country a policeman, tied against Esteve Mata 120-120 in 16 in the quarter-finals, winning the match with the starting point. In the semi-finals, Leroy won against Dutchman Raymund Swertz 120-102 in 10.

The highest average with 11.78 was for Joan Espinasa, the highest run with 56 for Patrick Niessen. Reigning champion Raul Cuenca finished in position eight, Jean Paul de Bruijn, one of the top favorites, finished seventh after losing in the quarter-finals against his compatriot Raymund Swertz 120-83 in 12 innings. For De Bruijn, it means the farewell to the European triptych, as he will not compete in the balkline championships 47/2 and 71/2.

The final standings at the European championships one cushion:

  1. Arnim Kahofer 9-8.44-50
  2. Xavier Leroy 10-7.89-45
  3. Raymund Swertz 6-7.69-36
  4. Willy Gérimont 7-6.97-54
  5. Joan Espinasa 6-11.78-48
  6. Esteve Mata 3-10.21-57
  7. Jean Paul de Bruijn 5-10.63-49
  8. Raul Cuenca 4-7.77-43
  9. Patrick Niessen 3-6.45-56
  10. Xavier Grétillat 2-8.09-32

Arnim Kahofer with the trophy and the gold medal

The start of the final match with Arnim Kahofer and Xavier Leroy