‘IT’S A FEELING YOU CAN’T DESCRIBE’
One year on from capturing his first ever WPA World 9-ball Championship, Austria’s Albin Ouschan looks back on that momentous moment, and tells us what to expect as the 2017 World 9-ball Championship gets set to kick off Dec. 9 in Doha, Qatar.
Exclusive interview and story by WPA Press Officer Ted Lerner
By Ted Lerner
WPA Press Officer
Coming into the 2016 World 9-ball Championship in Doha, Qatar, Austria’s Albin Ouschan had been playing the type of pool that spoke of a champion in the making. Two years earlier Ouschan had finished runner up in the 2014 event, barely losing to Holland’s Niels Feijen. Then over the next two years he took his game to new heights, including winning the brutally tough China Open in 2015, a successful stint on the winning European Mosconi Cup team, and wins and high finishes in many European events.
While all of his opponents in the 2016 World 9-ball Championship were well aware they were up against a verified pool monster, no doubt few realized just how thoroughly Ouschan had it all together. One only has to listen to what the Austrian said immediately after advancing to the semi-finals in Doha last year. Cleary Ouschan was destined for greatness the following day.
“The difference now is all the tournaments I’ve played since 2014,” the then 25 year old Ouschan said on the penultimate day of the Championship. “Maybe I’m a better player now. I practice a lot. I won the China Open last year. I become a father about a year ago. I played in the Mosconi. There’s many big steps in my life. I’m happy with all the things in my life. My baby is perfect. My girlfriend is perfect. So probably I have a perfect life so that’s why I play almost perfect on the table.”
With everything in his personal and professional pool playing life in total sync, Ouschan came out on the final day and put in a dream performance. After first blowing out Canada’s Alex Pagulayan in the semi-final, Ouschan came back in the final to put an emphatic and somewhat shocking 13 – 6 drubbing on American Shane Van Boening to capture his first WPA World 9-ball championship at the Al Arabi Sports Club in Doha.
As the 2017 WPA World 9-ball Championship gets set to commence on December 9th at the Al Arabi Sports Club in Doha, we caught up with the current World 9-ball Champion to recap how it all went down last year, what he has been doing since then, and how he feels about his chances of doing it all again.
TL: Describe what it was like to finally win the World 9-ball Championship in 2016 after many years of hard work, and after having come in 2nd two years earlier.
AO: It’s a feeling you can’t describe. I remember when I was on the last 3 balls I felt like my heart will jump out of my chest. On the last nine I just thought “Finally, World Champion.”
TL: You mentioned last year that your personal life was going really well. How much do you think the situation in your personal life played in your great performance throughout the tournament last year?
AO: I think it changed a lot. I felt more happy in every part of my life and with a baby also comes a kind of pressure because you want to give them everything they deserve so that was maybe the thing I needed to be that successful.
TL: Everyone thought the final with Shane Van Boening would a really close match. Instead the match wasn’t even close. Why do you think the match ended up being so one sided?
AO: Yeah true but he made 2 mistakes in the beginning of the match which gave me the big lead. When I was up like 7:2 I think I just thought don’t give him the chance to come back and we know I didn’t. Well we often saw that Shane makes easy mistakes under pressure like at the Mosconi Cup but we also know how good he can play.
TL: How has the last year been professionally and personally since you won the World 9-ball Championship? Have you become well known in Austria? How about sponsors, did you do well with sponsors?
AO: It was a very good year. Everyone knows me now and I also won the award for best sport Athlete in my state which is great because the biggest sport in Austria is skiing so to win the award against our Pro Ski Team is an honor. I also have some new sponsors and some better contracts.
TL: How are you playing coming into this year’s championship? Is there a lot of pressure being the defending champion? Do you think you have a reasonable chance of repeating as champion?
AO: Of course there is some pressure because you know many people will watch your matches but I know that situation already. I will just try to stay calm and cool. We all know how many good players are at the World Championship so i can’t say now I want to win or I have to win. I just want to be happy with my performance and if it’s good I can be world champion again.
TL: Is there anything else you would like to say?
AO: Of course I want to thank everyone who supported me over the last couple of years. It wasn’t always easy but I finally made it to the top of the world but that wouldn’t be possible without the fans behind me.
**The 2017 WPA World 9-ball Championship takes place at the Al Arabi Sports Club Sports Club in Doha, Qatar from December 5-15,2017 The qualifying stages run from Dec. 5-7, while the main draw of 128 players runs from Dec 9-15.
The winner of the 2015 World 9-ball Championship will receive $30,000. The runner up will receive $15,000. The total prize fund is $200,000.
The players will compete on Wiraka DYNASTY Tables with Simonis 860 Cloth, Electric Blue Color and using Aramith Tournament Pro cup TV Pool Balls featuring the new Duramith Technology.
The 2017 World 9-ball Championship is hosted by The Qatar Billiard and Snooker Federation(QBSF), and was sanctioned by the The World Pool Billiard Association, the governing body of the sport of pool.
Fans can interact with us through the WPA’s official Facebook Page for the event at this link;https://www.facebook.com/worldpoolbilliardassociation/
The WPA is also on Twitter; @poolwpa
Visit the official website of the WPA at www.wpapool.com