8/21/2016 3:42:58 AM

REDEMPTION

REDEMPTION

TWO years ago, Albin Ouschan had left the Al Arabi Sports Club in tears after losing to the Netherlands’ Niels Feijen in the World 9-Ball Pool Championship final.

Much has changed since as the Austrian really worked on his game, won a tough China Open in 2015, followed it up with a victory at the Mosconi Cup team event and had good finishes in many top European events.

And finally, the crowning glory came last week when he clinched pool’s most prestigious prize in Doha, beating USA’s Shane Van Boening 11-6 in the final to virtually redeem himself at the same venue.

“Two years ago, when I lost to Niels (Feijen), I was pretty depressed. I was crying. I had to swallow it, get back into my game and focus again. Then once I won the China Open, I knew my game was back and that I could win the World Championship. And now I’m happy and proud of myself to have done it at the same venue,” said Ouschan.

The 25-year-old has no time to relax as the China Open begins in three weeks’ time. And then the US Open looms large in October. So will his life change after a magical evening in Doha?

“Of course, it changes my bank balance,” Ouschan gushed. “It’ll surely change my life I know. I was just waiting for it. I knew I could be the world champion. It was just a matter of time, I guess.”

The victory capped a dream double for the Ouschan family. His elder sister Jasmin is a former world champion and Albin is happy to have emerged out of her shadows.

“I always wanted to show people who I’m. When I was younger, I didn’t even have a name. People always said ‘you’re Jasimin’s brother.’  I think I left her shadow two years ago when I was runner-up here. I always dreamed about this moment and now it’s here and it’s an awesome moment for me,” added Ouschan.

Consistency was his forte throughout the tournament in the Qatari capital and he stayed cool as a cucumber. As he obliged numerous fans who were tripping over themselves for that modern-day madness that answers to the name of ‘selfie’, Ouschan took a moment to reflect on a certain aspect of his personal life, which is as important to him as the endless hours spent practising his pool skills.

“Before every match, I look at my baby’s photos. My girlfriend writes to me some nice things, telling me that they’re always behind me. Over the last few years, I’ve practised a lot learning how to calm down in heavy pressure and I thank them for that,” he concluded. 

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