On the occasion of the 6th World Youth Open Bridge Championships currently being held in Croatia, we met the Théo Guillemin/Luc Bellicaud pair from the Youngsters Team France sponsored by Funbridge. They share their state of mind ahead of the event.
INTERVIEW WITH LUC BELLICAUD
YOUNGSTERS TEAM FRANCE
The World Youth Open Championships in the Youngsters category start on Monday 20 August. They follow Lyon 2017 World Team Championships where France shined in many categories. We had won the team event in Youngsters (U21), Théo Guillemin and Arthur had finished third in the pairs event.
This year France is sending two teams: one in Kids (U16) and one in Youngsters.
Again I will be part of the Youngsters team and Théo Guillemin will be my partner. He usually plays in the category above, i.e. Junior (U26), but will move down this time as he is only 18. Last time we played together was in Kids at the 2014 World Youth Team Championships in Istanbul! We are among the favourites in pairs and we hope that we will go back home with a new medal. However, the event and the final will be short, making it quite uncertain to achieve that objective.
In teams, we will be associated to Léo Rombaut and Clément Teil. It will be their first time in Youngsters after several championships in the Kids category. They won the silver medal at the World Championships in China last year, among other things.
We are a solid team but we arrive with a major disadvantage. We are only four players and long days are awaiting us… Again, the objective is to bring a medal but it won’t be easy!
There are several strong teams:
- Team Badoell made up of two Dutch and two Swedish players who have been playing in U21 for a long time. The Dutch pair took their team to the top rank of the European Teams Championships with a Butler score of +1!
- The Polish team, always solid and even more this year: one of the pairs is the top qualifier for the Bermuda Bowl in the Open category.
- The UK team who finished third at the European Teams Championships.
- Finally, it would not be as surprise if one of the four Chinese teams ends up in the top 3.
INTERVIEW WITH THÉO GUILLEMIN
First of all, obviously, I’d like to spend a nice week with Luc, Clément, Léo and Thibault.
Luc and I will try to aim for gold in pairs even if there is always some uncertainty and there are other good pairs, especially the Polish Patreuha brothers.
In teams, I hope that we will win a medal despite that we are only four and no-one can afford to get tired, all the more at the final stages of the event.
I am sure that we will be a tightly knit team as it has always been the case in Youngsters over the last few years. Even if the decision of having me play with Luc was taken quite late, it hasn’t been too much of a difficulty to agree on a comprehensive and coherent system, so there is no reason for concern here.
I think that Clément and Léo have been able to practise together throughout the year and acquire automaticity. Also, they are good individual players and this is why there is every reason to believe that we can expect to get a medal despite the presence of very good teams.
Teams can be transnational and choose whatever name.
To me, four teams are stronger than us, at least on paper:
- Team Poland with a very good pair who finished second at the European Championships last year.
- Team Badoell includes the best Dutch pair and one of Swedish pairs who has won World and European Teams titles.
- Meisters Disciple with an excellent Israeli, a Danish pair playing in Junior this year as well as a good Swedish player and her usual partner.
- Probably a Chinese team.
But we have to keep an eye on Italy, one of the two teams from England and maybe another Chinese or Polish team, especially since I don’t perform very well against the latter generally speaking.
Get all the results of the Youngsters Team France sponsored by Funbridge on the Funbridge blog and on the WBF website.
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