The World Games 2017 saw some surprise winners and several last-chance gold medals. Let’s remind ourselves of some of the highlights of the Games:
Roller Speed Skater Mareike Thum and Recurve Archer Lisa Unruh both staged dramatic comebacks to recover from adversity, and stood on their respective podiums to hear the German national anthem being played.
Mareike Thum had thought her best chance of gold would have been four years earlier in the Cali, Colombia edition of The World Games. She was devastated when she only managed to get the silver medal. Thus, Wroclaw 2017 represented her last chance to claim gold at The World Games, before she hangs up her skates for good. Her performances at the Millennium Park Speed Skating track have been good, allowing her to claim five bronze medals. However the one colour of medal, that she was longing for, continued to elude her. That is until the 500m Road Sprint, Mareike's final race ever at The World Games. Thum was ecstatic when she surged past her rivals to leave with the most precious of souvenirs - a gold medal around her neck.
Lisa Unruh had to overcome a four point halfway deficit in order to force a dramatic shoot out against archer Naomi Folkard. It was a fascinating match-up, Unruh had won a silver medal at the Rio Olympics in the target version of the sport, whilst Folkard was the reigning champion of The World Games. Coming to the fourth and final target, Folkard knew that if she hit the bull, she would take gold, however a slightly wayward arrow scoring four meant a tie and a shoot out to decide the champion. The British archer buckled under the pressure scoring just three, Unruh's solitary arrow found the outer bull to end a dramatic match in her favour.
Filipino finally gets lucky at The World Games
Pool player Carlo Biado was the toast of The Philippines, as he dramatically broke the medal drought, that has never seen the Asian island nation top the podium at a global multi-sport event. When Carlo, nicknamed “Lucky Luke” potted the last yellow ball on the table, to complete a stirring 11-7 comeback victory in The World Games 9 Ball Pool final against British player Jayson Shaw, he instantly became a national hero. No Filipino has ever won gold at the Olympic Games, three times they have collected silver.
The Asian Games has proved to be a similarly barren hunting ground. The most recent edition, three years ago in South Korea, saw The Philippines pick up just the solitary gold in BMX cycling. The sports mad Filipinos, who love their boxing and basketball, have been continually disappointed and frustrated by their lack of international sporting success.
Yet now in Wroclaw, Poland for the first time ever a gold medal was placed around the neck of a Filipino who has beaten the world, for the first time the national anthem of The Philippines was played.
More shock victories
The shock winners continue to emerge in the Billiard Sports at The World Games. Following Filipino Carlo Biado's completely unexpected triumph in Pool, it was Snooker's turn to upset the formbook. In the all British final between Ali Carter and Kyren Wilson, it was widely expected that Carter would prevail. He is former World number 2, who has since successfully beaten cancer – twice! Wilson has often struggled to qualify for major tournaments and has only one tournament victory to his name , when he captured the 2015 Shanghai Masters. However it is Kyren Wilson who has taken the gold medal in The World Games Final comprehensively outplaying Carter.