Torbjörn Blomdahl

February18th

Istanbul, Turkey
February 14-16 2014

First stop of the World Cup 2014 was in Istanbul. My first match against Lee Choong Bok also proved to be my last. The tournament, however was another display of great play with big averages, high runs and excitement.

Lee started like someone who had been stung by a wasp and it was only at 36-15 in 14 innings that I broke through the defense and made a run of 13. The 14th was an easy shot that I should have made. A pity! Lee then closed the match with a strong out run of four and I was a spectator for the rest of the tournament.

But what a treat! Cho beat Jaspers 40-38 in 14 and new Vietnemese star Tran Quyet Chien put away Polychronopoulos in 15! Campino of Colombia had a surprisingly clear win against Tasdemir only to lose against Cho in the next round. Bury lost in the first round on penalties just as he had done in the previous World Cup.

In the quarter finals Choi beat Caudron on penalties, Merckx got rid of Kang in 11 and Cho beat Sanchez in 13! In the semi finals now we had three Koreans and Merckx. A novelty, I think.

Choi advanced to the final through a 40-38 against Merckx and Cho Jae Ho, who was playing at an amazing level outplayed Kim 40-29 in only 15 innings.

The all Korean final was full of prestige and the defensive Choi coped with the attacking skills of Cho seemingly without problems. As Choi reached 40 in the 25th inning Cho had only managed 32 in his first 24. Now in the equalizing inning he looked liberated and scored all eight points, the fifth being an enormous fluke! He went on to win the penalty shoot-out 3-2 and was, as I see it, the right winner. Although he got really lucky he had been the best player throughout the tournament averaging 2,150!