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European juniors battle for title in Murcia


Published by frits bakker

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Carlos Anguita from Spain showed his great form by winning a tournament in Murcia last weekend

LOS ALCÁZARES - Fourteen players under 21 will show up for the European championship three cushion in the Spanish Los Alcázares, near Murcia, this week. The defending champion, the Turk Berkay Karakurt, is not among the participants because of his age. The new champion must come from three groups playing for a place in the quarter finals.

Kozoom spoke with some of the participants and the Spanish coach Jose Maria Quetglas in a preview.

The Frenchman Thibaut Espada is one of the major contenders in this championship. The 20-year-old French champion, who lives in Andernos, was in the shadow of Adrien Tachoire and Gwendal Marechal in recent years, but can gain more international experience in Murcia after his third place at the European championship under 17 in 2012.
,,The preparation was very good with special training from Jérémy Bury, our federation coach'', Espada explains. He took the French title by a victory in the final against Jean Haby (30-13 in 24 innings). Espada: ,,I don't see myself as the big favourite for this European championship. ,,The players in the final all have shown their qualities, so I will not underestimate anyone. I will do my best to defend the colors of my country.''
Thibaut Espada plays in the club Andernos, where Bernard Baudoin was his first coach, later he practiced with Nicolas Gérassimopoulos. ,,And I played with Francis Connesson in my club.''

The Turk Arda Güngor took the European title in three cushion under 17 last year in Brandenburg and plays the championship under 21 now. The Spaniard Daniel Peña was beaten by Güngor in the final 25-20 in 20 innings.
Carlos Anguita (19) proved to be in a great form this weekend by winning a tournament in Murcia. In the final match he defeated David Martinez. The tournament had a strong line-up with among others David Zapata, who finished fifth. Also among the participants. Jose Maria Quetglas, the Spanish coach of, ended in the middle.
Anguita is seen as a great talent. He plays three cushion only for three years now and is part of the High Performance Center of Los Narejos. He plays in the Spanish league for Alcantarilla in the first division.

Andrés Carrión (20) is the current Spanish champion. He lives in Castalla, in Alicante and is one of the talents in his country with an average of 0.950. Andres has developed considerably in the training center in Los Narenjos and plays in the national league for CB Castalla.

Daniel Peña (19) is the vice-champion of Spain. He lives in Torrent, Valencia and is known as a strong character player. His average is around 0.800. He belongs for the third year to the trainings center in Los Narejos.

Patrick Bútora from Austria and Milan Ettel from Czech Republic are two players who already gained experience on the European stage. The Czech reached the semi-finals at the European championship under 17 two weeks ago. There he was beaten in the shoot-outs by German Simon Blondeel.

The Dane Anders Henriksen (19) played the European championship free game under 21 two weeks ago and makes the switch to three cushion this weekend. ,,I don't have much experience with three cushion'', he says. ,,What I should expect, I really don't know, because I don't know the level of the other players.''
The 19-year-old Joey de Kok is the player who represents the Netherlands in Spain. He took two Dutch titles this season: one on the small table, one on the match table. At the European championship under 17 in Brandenburg, De Kok took third plays and he also played a European championship in France. ,,I don't know most of the players in the upcoming European championship, so I don't know where I can finish in this field.''

Joey de Kok actually was not planned to participate in Murcia. ,,We had even booked a holiday in this week, which we had to cancel.
We leave on Monday for the tournament in Mucia to look around there for a few days and prepare well. My girlfriend Ilona, ​​my father and mother and two friends join as fans.''

The Dutch talent in three-cushion will play at higher levels next year in the Netherlands and Belgium and is trained by Jean Paul de Bruijn.
The 20-year-old German Tobias Bouerdick has a lot of international experience. He made a successful bid for the European title two times, when he took gold at the European championships three cushion in Brandenburg in 2013, where he defeated the Frenchman Enzo Riquart and he took the European title in Brandenburg in 2015 in free game. Bouerdick was nine times German youth champion, this year in three cushion under 21. He lives in Kamen near Dortmund and works for Thijssen Krupp engineering. The German about his chances: ,,I would like to win a medal, but many players are on the same level between 0.700 and 0.900.''

The European championship will be played at the Centro de Alto Rendimiento in Los Alcázares. The opening ceremony is on Friday June 3, followed by the group matches. The semi-finals are on Sunday, June 5, from 9.30, followed by the final. The group matches are played to 25 caroms and to 30 in the knockout phase.

The group format:

Group A:

Espada (France)
Carrion (Spain)
Iscan (Turkey)
De Kok (Netherlands)
Henriksen (Denmark)

Group B:

Soares (Portugal)
Anguita (Spain)
Alperen (Turkey)
Bouerdick (Germany)
Ettel (Czech Republic)

Group C:
Güngor (Turkey)
Peña (Spain)
Bútora (Austria)
Lowe (Germany).

Thibaut Espada from France, one of the favourites for the title

The double Dutch champion Joey de Kok