Suffolk pool star scoops European crown for third time
PUBLISHED: 16:00 21 February 2019 | UPDATED: 16:07 21 February 2019
A Suffolk pool player won a major singles title in Ireland last week to become the first person to win the event three times.
Kim O’Brien, from Bury St Edmunds, first started playing pool as a teenager and more than three decades on – she has gone from pub league pool to glory on the European stage.
Kim travelled to Gleneagle Hotel in Killarney, County Derry, on February 8, to take part in the European Eight Ball Pool Championships.
She won all of her seven matches to claim the title on February 15, including a 6-0 victory over England’s Kate Wringe in the semi-final.
Kim clinched the crown with a win over Northern Ireland’s Collette Henriksen in the final – 18 years after she first won the competition.
Kim has now won the ladies singles crown three times – in 2001, 2010 and 2019 – securing victory every nine years.
Going into the tournament, the Bury pool star said she felt as though she had not practiced enough.
“I started confidently and got off to a good start and the momentum carried me through.” she said.
“I won the final 7-6 against Colette Henriksen from Northern Ireland.
“Leading up to the tournament I felt I hadn’t practised enough.
“But I was relaxed and as the tournament went on, I felt that I could win.”
In a tense final, Kim said it “felt amazing” to clinch the crown for the third time.
“In the final we went frame for frame – then I went 6-4 up.
“Collette then pulled it back to 6-6 but at no point did I think I was going to lose,” she said. “Maybe it was the nine-year coincidence that inspired me.
“On the last black I wasn’t very nervous – it was strange.
“I’ve struggled with back problems for the last couple of years so when I potted the winning ball it felt amazing.”
Kim received a trophy and 1,000 euros for winning the championship and next up she has the team county finals before going to Blackpool for the World Championships in June – a tournament she is yet to win.
“I’ve got to the semi-finals [of the World Championships] before and if I feel as good as I did at the Europeans – you never know,” she added.
“I’ll be doing my best to get the title.”