Cha Yu-ram latest Korean champ

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Cha Yu-ram latest Korean champ

“I don’t take other players into much consideration,” said Cha Yu-ram, Korea’s top-ranked female billiards player, from her personal practice hall in Gaepo-dong, southern Seoul. “Billiards is essentially a fight against yourself.”

Cha has been called a “Goddess of Billiards,” based on her good looks and amazing abilities.

Last month, Cha won both the women’s 9-ball and 10-ball divisions at the fourth Asian Indoor & Martial Art Games held in Incheon. Then on July 21, at the Suwon Cup, a national billiards championship event, she overtook rival Kim Ga-young and became No.1 in Korea.

Leading up to competitions, Cha practices six hours a day, saying the satisfaction she gets from playing overrides the pressure. Along with Kim, Cha is the face of women’s billiards in Korea. Even if people don’t know much about professional billiards, they usually know Cha’s face. But Cha balks at people who talk about her looks, preferring to concentrate on perfecting her abilities.

“I want to be known, not just for my abilities, but for my sportsmanship and respect toward others,” said Cha. “I want to become a perfect role model for those who want to pursue a career in billiards.”

Before Cha, there were numerous players who advanced the game of billiards in Korea, namely Cha’s long-standing rival Kim.

Kim won silver medals at the Asian Games in 2006 and 2010, and last year at the world championships Kim took the gold medal in the 10-ball category.

In the men’s division, there are a few well-known star players. The late Lee Sang-chun, who made a name for himself in the U.S. playing three-cushion billiards, was a major player in the 1990s. Lee won four world titles over a decade, and in 2002 won silver at the Asian Games in Busan. In 2004 he was also named president of the Korea Billiards Federation, but passed away from cancer that year.

Kim Kyung-roul is currently one of Korea’s best male players. He started his professional career in 2003 and in 2010 won the World Cup in Turkey for three-cushion billiards.

And then there’s Jeanette Lee, the Korean-American who rose to fame in the mid-1990s. Lee rose to prominence just as pocket-ball was catching on in Korea. Lee, who kicked off her career in the U.S. in 1993, was No. 1 in the world in 1994 and 1995. She had a penchant for black attire and became known as the “black widow.”



By Lee Seung-nyeong [carlasunwoo@joongang.co.kr]
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