Worldwide, 3-cushion cushions are gaining popularity in Europe, South Korea (Vietnam), Turkey, and North and Central America. Unfortunately, there are relatively few countries where it is prevalent compared to pool and snooker. Billiards (3-cushion) information in Europe, such as the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain, is known to some extent in Korea. The same is true of Vietnam, which is emerging as a three-cushion powerhouse. However, there is almost no information on the North and Central American billiards market, centered on Colombia and the United States.
Through a series of interviews with Pedro Gonzalez of Colombia and Pedro Piedra Buena of the United States, who participated in the recent ‘Inter-Burgo World 3-Cushion Grand Prix’ held in Wonju, we learned about billiards in North and Central America. The first is the Gonzalez interview.
“The popularity of billiards in Colombia is beyond imagination,” he said. Hundreds of thousands of people enjoy playing billiards every day, and the billiards market is as big as Korea.”
Colombia’s 3-cushion player Pedro Gonzalez (46) is a ‘powerhouse’ representing not only his country but also South America and the entire American continent. He won the ‘Pan American Championship’, which determines the best player in the Americas in the past, three times in a row, and in the ‘World Team 3 Cushion Championship’ held in Germany last year, he also finished runner-up with his colleague Huberni Catano. In particular, Gonzalez is ranked 23rd in the world, the highest among North and Central American players.
The Colombian billiard fever he introduced is really hot. There are about 100,000 billiards clubs in Colombia, and the population of billiards, including players and runners-up, reaches about 1 million. The size of the billiards market is also huge. Gonzalez said that there are countless billiard equipment companies in Colombia that produce billiard tables, billiard cues and billiard balls, and there are companies that export billiard tables to Korea. I met him at the Inter-Burgo Hotel in Wonju, where the ‘World 3-Cushion Grand Prix’ was in full swing.
△ It’s a pity that I couldn’t make it to the finals at the World 3-Cushion Grand Prix. (Gonzalez ranked 5th in the first qualifying round of the group stage (3 wins, 1 draw and 3 losses) and advanced to the final qualifying round. Kang failed to make it to the finals)
= Of course, it is true that I am regretful, but I am satisfied with the results of this tournament. In particular, even though they fell in the final qualifying round, it produced a result close to the round of 16.
△Please give a brief self-introduction.
I live in Bogota, the capital of Colombia. He is active as a three-cushion player, and his world ranking is 23rd.
△ How do you feel about participating in the World 3-Cushion Grand Prix?
= First of all, I was happy to be invited to such a big competition, and it is a very precious experience for me. It was a valuable time to play against top players from all over the world. In particular, the game method of this ‘Team Challenge’ was so impressive that I wanted to apply it even after returning to Colombia.
△When did you start playing billiards, and what was the reason?
= Since I started at the age of 15, it has been over 30 years now. When he was young, his father was a billiards player, so he was introduced to billiards naturally.
△ How is the Columbia 3-cushion fever?
=Colombia can be proud of being the country where 3-cushion is the most prevalent throughout the American continent. The number of billiard clubs alone is about 100,000, and the population of billiards, including players and semi-professionals, reaches about 1 million. That’s how popular it is. It can be seen that hundreds of thousands of people play billiards every day.
△Then the billiards market must be quite large.
= Of course. Not only in South America or the American continent, but also in the world, the billiards market is as large as Korea. There are so many billiard equipment companies that produce billiard tables, billiard cues, and billiard balls, and in particular, jimar billiard tables are exported to Korea.
△Is the most prestigious local event the ‘Pan American 3-Cushion Championship’?
= Asia’s ‘Asian 3-Cushion Championship’ is the same as Europe’s ‘European 3-Cushion Championship’. It is a continental championship in which athletes from more than 20 countries in North, Central and South America participate, and it can be said to be the largest competition in the Americas. The competition is held once a year, and I won the competition in 2019.
△ What are the major competitions in Colombia?
=Basically, the National Billiards Championship hosted by the Colombia Billiards Federation is held 5-6 times a year. It is similar to the Korean National Billiards Championship. The tournament has a large number of participants, starting with the round of 350. In addition, there are 3-4 city competitions sponsored by private companies, all of which have traditions, so they are as big as the National Billiards Championship and have high authority. 바카라사이트
△Colombia is far from Europe or Asia, where international competitions such as the 3-Cushion World Cup are often held. Participating in international competitions will not be easy.
= Actually, there are many difficulties. It is common for it to take more than 24 to 30 hours to go to Asia and Europe, and it is also expensive. Considering the Colombian exchange rate, the cost of using it in other countries is not easy. Still, compared to my fellow Colombian players, I tend to participate in quite a few international competitions.
△ Let’s take a look at Colombia’s key players.
=Including me, there are many great players such as Jose Juan Garcia (28th in the world), John Freddy Martinez (46th), Daniel Morales (62nd), Robinson Morales (70th) and Huberni Catano (91st).
The shaking of the arms is due to the aftereffects of ‘Corona 19’… It is difficult to cure it. A relationship with billiard cue company Hanbat from 8 years ago “Thank you for your support”△ It is being sponsored by ‘Hanbat’, a Korean billiard equipment company.
= It has already been 8 years since I received Hanbat sponsorship. I received sponsorship through a relationship with a local agent in Colombia. Hanbat CEO Kwon Oh-cheol first met when he participated in the 2019 Guri 3-Cushion World Cup. I am grateful to Hanbat for supporting players from distant countries.
△ My arm shakes badly. Does it interfere with the billiard game?
= Recently, after being infected with ‘Corona 19’, a kind of aftereffect has occurred. When I get nervous during the game, my arms often shake, but I constantly go to the hospital and take prescribed medicine. It is said that there may be other symptoms besides arm shaking. It is not yet a situation in which a complete cure can be expected.
△ Who do you consider to be your role model?
= World No. 1 Dick Jaspers. His technical side, as well as his attitude towards the game, are worthy of emulation.
△ If you go to international competitions often, you might be friends with some players.
= American Pedro Piedrabuena. We haven’t known each other for quite some time, but we’ve gotten really close in recent years. I can only speak Spanish, but not only can I speak the language, but my personality and disposition are very similar to mine. Since Piedra Buena speaks both Spanish and English, he is also my dedicated English interpreter. haha. He also gets along well with Marco Zanetti and Tob John Bromdal.
△ Are there any Korean players you are close to?
=Unfortunately, I rarely interact with Korean players. This is because the language barrier is higher than that of English-speaking players. However, he is personally one of the players Cho Myung-woo is keeping an eye on. His powerful strokes are eye-catching.
△ Future goals.
= My goal is to participate in all the 3-Cushion World Cups scheduled for this year, and to make it to the finals at least once.