NDO – Ma Minh Cam has become the first Vietnamese cueist to win a bronze medal at the Carom Billiard 3-Cushion World Championship, following his tie-breaking loss to Eddy Merckk from Belgium in the semifinal of the 2017 competition in Santa Cruz, Bolivia on the night of November 12.
Ahead of the match, fans’ hopes had been pinned on Cam to bring Vietnamese billiards to a new height at the tournament, as the world no. 23 player beat Mexican Javier Vera 40-28 in the quarterfinals to make history as the country’s first representative in the semi-finals of the world arena.
The hopes increased as Cam rose to a 24-4 lead against 2006 and 2012 world champion, Merckk. However, the Vietnamese star’s pace slowed down later, with him constantly missing out on points.
In contrast, Merckk played boomingly, coming from behind to equalise the score before leading 39-31.
The two cueists struggled to make the score at 40-40, forcing the match to be decided by a tie-break, during which Cam had to bid farewell to his world campaign with a 3-5 defeat on aggregate.
Despite the loss, the world bronze medal could be considered a success for Cam in particular and for Vietnamese billiards as a whole.
During his journey to the semifinals, Cam beat country fellowman Tran Quyet Chien 40-26 and Javier Vera 40-7 in the preliminary round, overcoming Can Capak of Turkey 40-32 in the round of 32, defeating Heo Jung-han from the Republic of Korea 40-33, and finishing off Javier Vera 40-28 in the quarterfinals.
The tournament drew 48 participants from all over the world. They were divided into 16 groups of three, of which 16 winners and 16 runners-up advanced to the knockout stage after the preliminary rounds. A cash prize of US$11,600 was available for the overall champion.
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