RUSSIA SWEPT THE two gold medals in the team events at the Dynamic Billiards European Championships taking place in Antalya, Turkey. First Russia’s strong men’s team beat Denmark without losing a match in the final and then the ladies’ team sealed a double gold as they beat Germany 2-0.
The Russian ladies’ team consisted of the minimum two players in the shape of the stellar Kristina Tkach and 20 year-old Alexandra Guleikova and they lost just a single match as they went undefeated through the field in the format that involves an 8-ball and 9-ball match followed by a shoot-out if it’s tied at 1-1. There were nine countries in total represented in the event.
After seeing off a strong-looking Polish team 2-0 in the semi-final, they emphatically beat Germany 2-0 for the gold. Earlier, Poland had defeated Germany 2-0 in the last four to relegate the Germans to a bronze.
For Kristina Tkach it was her third team medal at the European Pool Championships while her playing partner, Alexandra Guleikova opened her medal account with a gold.
Commented Tkach, “I think it was a team effort completely. I know Alexandra tried her best and I also tried mine and I was counting on her a lot. It was great to win the team gold and I have further chances in the individual events.
Guleikova added, “It’s a big honour for me. I tried really hard and wanted to play my best and I’m so excited about this!”
Medals - Ladies
Gold: Russia (K. Tkach, A. Guleikova)
Silver: Germany (V. Ivanovskaia, I. Kaplan, M. Sussenguth,
Bronze: Poland (O. Zalewska, M. Zabek) & Sweden (L. Furberg, M. Nguyen, M. Margeta)
In the men’s division, there was more dominance from Russia as they won gold in a strong 22 nation field. The team of EC straight pool champ, Fedor Gorst, experienced veteran Konstantin Stepanov, big-breaking Sergey Lutsker and back-up man Andriy Seroshtan was just too strong despite an unexpected snag on the road to gold.
After beating Switzerland in their opening match, they found themselves on the one-loss side of the bracket after an upset win by Portugal in the winner’s qualification round. However, they battled back with a win over Norway before they faced a good-looking Dutch team in the last eight.
Armed with a 2-0 win, Russia then scrapped a 2-1 win over Poland to reach the final where they faced Denmark.
The format features teams with a maximum of five players with only three playing in any one match. The games are 8-ball, 9-ball and 10-ball with the final match not played in the event of a 2-0 win.
The Danes had themselves been dumped into the one-loss side courtesy of a terrific performance from Northern Cyprus. Wins over Croatia, Finland and Turkey saw them through to the quarters where they dispatched Portugal 2-1before overcoming Germany by a similar scoreline to guarantee silver.
It was the Russians who prevailed though, needing just two wins to get their collective hands on the trophy and secure their first team gold in the history of the championship.
Fedor Gorst, who won his second gold medal of the championships said, “It feels great! Winning the first medal in the team division is always something special. In my opinion it’s always more pressure when you play in a team.
“Even when the last match is there and you’re tied 1-1 and you have to go and win the decider. Much more pressure than individual matches. We’re all happy though, and we’ll celebrate tonight”
For veteran Konstantin Stepanov it was a proud moment: “We’ve been close to the gold in the team division but we’ve never won it. I don’t play that much anymore but I have experience and I still play some good 8 ball and I’m so happy for the younger generation because we won this gold medal altogether with experience and their power. They wanted it so much.”
Finally, Sergey Lutsker added; “I think we won because we have a really good atmosphere in the team. We know each other a lot and practice with each other and Kosta (Stepanov) teaches us a lot.”
Medals - Men
Gold: Russia – (K.Stepanov, S. Lutsker, F. Gorst, A. Seroshtan)
Silver: Denmark (A. Madsen, M. Krause, C. Lentz, J. Thyde)
Bronze: Germany (R. Souquet, T. Hohmann, L. Kuckherm) & Poland (W. Szewczyk, M. Fortunski, D. Maciol, T. Kaplan, M. Skoneczny)
All the matches can be viewed live at www.kozoom.com
Results, live scoring and draw are available at www.epbf.com