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Burak Haşhaş, 6th big title, ready for PBA adventure


Published by frits bakker

Burak Haşhaş after he won his last UMB title in the juniors under 25

SALAMINA – The European title Burak Haşhaş won this Sunday was the cherry on the cake. Winning his victory in the under-25 three cushion championship, he took his sixth international title in total. And now, the 18-year-old Turkish super-talent will make his transfer to the PBA, the Korean pro tour, this summer. The greatest talent in the UMB for the last three years is taking the big step towards a professional adventure after he won the European Under-25 three cushion championship: the Turk from Istanbul beat Frenchman Maxime Panaia 40-24 in 20 innings (2,000/1,263, run 11).

That European title closes the row in the UMB, the traditional world federation, where Burak Haşhaş won two times European gold under 17, 2-times European gold under 25, 1-time world gold under 22 and 1-time world bronze under 22. That surely is a very impressive record, comparable or even better than other great talents like Haeng Jik Kim, Javier Palazón and Myung Woo Cho of whom only the Spaniard is among the top of the PBA league these years.

Burak Haşhaş does not want to be specific about his pro plans. He said not so long ago that he will start university studies in September. That, he assures, will not be jeopardised by the adventure at PBA. ''I start my university studies this season.'' The first PBA event in which Haşhaş will play, starts on 10-12 June. ''I'm obviously looking forward to this new adventure, and it certainly wasn't easy to make that step. We made the decision together, with the people around me.''

This Sunday night on the Greek island of Salamina was not a moment to celebrate his European title prolongation in an exuberant way. Burak: ''I don’t celebrate much, because this is my job. I just did my duty.''

The No2 in this Europeans, Frenchman Maxime Panaia, is remaining a UMB player and can in principle play two more under-25 tournaments. He looks back on a good tournament, which included keeping the second Turk in the semi-finals, Seymen Ozbas out of the final by 40-33 in 26. ''My tournament was good, in general,'' was his comment. ''But in the final I made too many mistakes. I didn't have the right focus in the beginning of this EC. Fortunately, things improved after that. It had been a long time since I won a European title, so I really wanted to win here. Unfortunately, that didn't work out. Still, at the end I am happy with my performance.''

Burak Haşhaş started his European adventure with a win over Georgios Tsokantas 30 in 21, also beat Daniel Kristriansen ds30 in 32 in those preliminaries and comfortably qualified for the knock-outs. In those, Haşhaş first passed Dutchman Joris van 't Zelfden in the eighth finals (40-14 in 16), in the quarter-finals again past Tsokantas (40-20 in 25), in the semi-finals past Alessio D'Agata (40-36 in 25) and finally in the final past Maxime Panaia.

In the preliminary stage, the Frenchman defeated Ali Ibraimov 30-29 in 31 and Christos Falangas 30-23 in 19. In the eighth final, Panaia was the strongest against Simon Blondeel (40-27 in 32), in the quarter-finals against his compatriot Nathan Duriez 40-25 in 24 and in the semi-finals against Turk Seymen Ozbas 40-33 in 26.

The final standings at the European under-25 championships:

  1. Burak Haşhaş 12-1,594-11
  2. Maxime Panaia 8-1,304-7
  3. Alessio D'Agata 8-1,343-14
  4. Seymen Ozbas 6-1,292-8
  5. Nathan Duriez 4-1,000-6
  6. Georgios Tsokantas 4-1,074-9
  7. Daniel Sainz-Pardo 4-0.794-7
  8. Ali Ibraimov 4-0.789-6
  9. Dimitrios Seleventas 4-1,253-6
  10. Sergio Martinez 4-1,141-6
  11. Marcos Morales 4-1,047-7
  12. Stefanos Alexandropoulos 2-0,721-6
  13. Joris van 't Zelfden 2-0,985-6

The champion Burak Hashas with the other final player, Frenchman Maxime Panaia

The final podium, left to right Maxime Panaia, Burak Hashas, Alessio D'Agata and Seymen Ozbas