Simon Lichtenberg has become the first German to win a major international event after victory in the European Under-21 Championship on Friday in Sofia.
The 20 year-old produced a terrific display to beat Welshman Tyler Rees 6-3 in the final to claim the prestigious amateur title.
Lichtenberg joins an exclusive club that already boasts the likes of professional ranking event winners Mark Allen, Michael White, and Luca Brecel.
The Berlin potter tallied four half-century breaks as he held off a spirited fight back from top seed Brian Ochoiski in the semi-finals to prevail in a deciding frame thriller.
Lichtenberg, the 2016 German national champion, showed few signs of tiredness in the subsequent showdown for glory, racing into a 3-0 lead over former European under-18 champion Rees.
The latter finally got on the board in the fourth frame but Lichtenberg appeared to be in control of the contest when he established a 5-2 advantage to move to within the brink of the trophy.
However, he was made to work for it as Rees fought back from a snookers required stage in the eighth fame to steal it on the black, before Lichtenberg eventually held himself together, albeit aided by an outrageous fluke, for a famous win.
A main tour place was supposed to be the European under-21 champion’s ultimate reward but unfortunately snooker’s politics seem likely to get in the way of Lichtenberg’s dream.
That is because the German Federation, in its infinite wisdom, chose not to sign up with the new World Snooker Federation, according to renowned German journalist Rolf Kalb.
German Federation rejected to become member of the WSF. Therefore Simon can’t get a tour card, even if he would be qualified (you can only get a tour card when your NGB is member of WSF). #147sf
— Rolf Kalb (@Rolf_Kalb) February 9, 2018
The WSF, which has initiated its own route from the amateur scene onto the professional circuit in a move against the International Federation of Billiards and Snooker, had set a deadline of January 31st of this year for any national governing body to align itself in order to avail of any tour card that was offered.
Sadly for Lichtenberg, it appears as though the German Federation decided to stick in favour of the IBSF, despite the fact that the WSF had no exclusivity clause in its contract.
It’s a huge shame for snooker in Germany, where the sport has thrived in the last decade or so thanks to an abundance of well-attended events – including last week’s German Masters at the Tempodrom.
The nation has been crying out for a star to cheer on and, after Lukas Kleckers graduated to the main tour from Q School last May, there could have been double the amount of home heroes to back for next season.
Alas, it’s not to be but hopefully Lichtenberg will take a massive amount of confidence from this success and find a different avenue onto the higher ranks.
Ireland’s Ross Bulman, meanwhile, led Rees 3-0 in the last four but ran out of steam, eventually bowing out 5-3.
At just 16 years-old, though, the future looks bright for the young Corkman.
Pingback: Germany’s Simon Lichtenberg Given Professional Tour Card – SnookerHQ