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Jaspers Dazzles on his Way to World Games Gold

Dick Jaspers of the Netherlands has had a long and storied career in the billiards disciple of carom three-cushion, having won the World and European Three-cushion Championships as well as the Three-Cushion World Cup five times.

The only event where the 56-year-old had not secured as much hardware was at the World Games, having earned two silvers and a gold in six attempts but having not earned anything since the 2009 games in Taiwan.

The Dutchman ended his drought in spectacular fashion Sunday morning at this year’s iteration of the World Games in Birmingham, overcoming an early deficit against Colombia’s Jose Juan Garcia with multiple long scoring breaks and putting away his opponent, 40-19 in front of an enthusiastic crowd.

“This is maybe the highest medal you can win because these are the Olympics for us,” said Jaspers after the match. “So, I think it makes my career perfect. I had won a lot in my life and this makes it really extra special.”

Jasper faced an opponent in Garcia who was playing with nothing to lose, having already guaranteed that Colombia – a country more known for its coffee than its carom – would be taking home a medal by reaching the championship. Garcia was one of two Colombian players who exhibited inspiring play throughout the week, with fellow countryman Pedro Gonzalez also reaching the semifinals and losing to Garcia yesterday.

The Colombian came out firing to open the match, connecting on seven straight points to build an early lead.

“I’m facing the number one in the world,” said Garcia. “I know he’s a the best so before my match, I knew I had to try my best.”

“He’s a rising star and he started well with seven so he was immediately he was in the game,” said Jaspers “So, I have to play my own style, my own game, and I think my concentration is also strong side of me. Maybe it could help.”

Jaspers picked away at the deficit early, using a three and two-point break to narrow the lead to 7-6, then overtook his opponent with a five-point break to build a 12-7 advantage. After Garcia put up a four-pointer of his own to draw within 12-11, the Dutchman closed out the first half of play with a nine-point break to increase his lead to 21-11. After Garcia opened the second half with a point to cut the lead to nine, Jaspers went on an eight-point break then tacked on three more points in the next inning to push his lead to 32-13. He all-but clinched the match in the ninth inning when he tacked on a six-point break to push the lead to a nearly insurmountable 39-14.

Meanwhile, Garcia struggled to put up points after his opening inning barrage, accumulating just three in the four three innings after the intermission compared to Jasper’s 18.

“I tried my best in the middle and the end of the match but the ball didn’t hold me for the second or third points,” said Garcia. “He was too good to do something against.”

When Jaspers struck his final three-rail shot and saw that the cue ball was about to connect for the game-winner, he raised his hands in triumph before the balls even touched each other. The celebration was in relief as well as celebration.

“I’m also happy it’s over,” he said tongue-in-cheek. “I need a break. I need a holiday now because we play so many events. But it’s fantastic to go back to my country with a gold medal and it’s my second medal.”

The Dutchman was stellar all week, opening competition Tuesday morning with a high break of 16 as he defeated Pedro Piedrabuena of the United States 40-11 in the opening round-of-16, then eliminating Sweden’s Torbjorn Blomdahl 40-20 to advance to the semifinals. Jaspers then used an 11-point break to take a commanding leading against Belgium’s Eddy Merckx to advance to the finals.