Final preparations are underway for the Predator WPA World Junior Championships, which will take place in Klagenfurt, Austria later this month as the next generation of global pool talent battle to add their names to the roll of honor of one of billiards’ most prestigious prizes.
The Predator WPA World Junior Championships runs October 19-22 with three divisions; Under-19 Boys, Under-17 Boys and Girls, and previous winners of all three divisions have gone on to become the winners of multiple World Championships. In fact, you’ll be hard pressed to find a year in which the event hasn’t produced a champion who would go on to become one of the most recognized names in the sport.
While this will mark the first occasion that 10-ball has been the chosen discipline, the event’s history goes back to 1992 and in that time, players including Ko Pin-Yi, Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz and Fedor Gorst have been WPA World Junior Champions in the Boys divisions. The Girls title has an equally storied history, with Kristina Tkach, Chezka Centeno and Jasmin Ouschan all having claimed the trophy since the Girls’ division was added in 2004.
From former winner to host, Ouschan has won gold at the World Games and been crowned World Women’s 10-Ball Champion in the years since she won the 2005 WPA World Junior Championship, and her Jasmin Ouschan Billiard Academy is housed at Klagenfurt Sports Park, the host venue of this year’s Junior Championships.
The event was staged last year in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where Estonia’s Karl Gnadeberg won the Boys Under-17 trophy. He steps up to the Under-19s division this year, although the defending champion of that division, Szymon Kural of Poland, is too old to return.
Chinese Taipei produced the Girls title holder, Xin Yu Hong, and she will be able to defend her title in Austria. In Puerto Rico she had plenty of support from the Chinese Taipei players in attendance for the Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open, and this year she can expect the same backing with her country well represented in the Predator WPA World 10-Ball Women’s Championship and Predator WPA World 8-Ball Men’s Championship, which also take place in Klagenfurt during the third week of October.
“I am very happy,” said Hong when she won the 2022 title. “It was a warm feeling to have the whole team from Chinese Taipei supporting me. My next goal is to defend the title.”
There will be 32 players in the Girls and Boys Under-17 divisions, and 16 players in the Boys Under-19 competition and as title sponsor, Predator is covering accommodation costs for everybody competing in the World Junior Championships.
Also taking place in Klagenfurt will be the Predator WPA World 8-Ball Men’s Championship (17-22 October) and the Predator WPA World 10-Ball Women’s Championship (19-22 October), which will award its champion $45,000, a 50% increase from 2022 and the biggest individual prize in women’s pool.
The 96-player World 8-Ball Men’s Championship has also seen an increase to the winner’s prize. The 2023 champion will take home $75,000, increased from the $60,000 prize paid in 2022.
The events are hosted in Austria with the support of the city of Klagenfurt and region of Carinthia, Jasmin Oushan Billiard Academy, Richwert Promotions and Pro Billiard Series partners Predator, CSI and Kamui.
All five World Championship events will be streamed live on Predator Pro Billiard Series broadcast platforms. The brand-new Pro Billiard TV YouTube channel and Billiard TV will host table 1 matches with multi-camera coverage and English commentary free to watch throughout the events. Kozoom.com will be the destination to watch every single match live. For more information follow @ProBilliardSeries on social media.