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On Top of the World

Fisher made the most of her last-second opportunity by beating Jasmin Ouschan for the gold.

In the women's 9-ball division, Allison Fisher was nearly on the outside looking in. The slots allotted for European players in the 16-player field were decided by the European Championships, an event Fisher did not attend. So the 40-year-old recent inductee into the BCA Hall of Fame was left as the first alternate.

And in what must have been a cancellation none of the other 15 players wanted to see, a player had to withdraw, allowing Fisher into the event. With enough time to scramble halfway across the globe, she had her chance to chase one world title that she had yet to collect.

"I paid my own way and that's what made it even sweeter for me," she said. "I purely went for pride and to represent my country."

When play got underway, she went to work, dispatching South African Apsra Panchoo, 9-3, in the opening round. She then faced a pair of Taiwanese champions in Liu Shin-Mei and Lin Yuan-Chun.

While Liu is arguably Taiwan's greatest player of all time and Lin is a world champion herself, the pair might not be as widely recognized as the players who tour the WPBA. Still, the two are lethal, and this fact was not lost on Fisher.

"For a start we are talking about world champions," Fisher said of the Liu and Lin. "Both players were very capable of winning the event."

Capable, but not able, after Fisher sent them both packing. In the quarterfinal, she bested Liu, 9-3, then coasted past Lin, 9-5, for a spot in the final.

Keeping pace, Jasmin Ouschan was having an equally easy stroll through the other side of the bracket. The 23-year-old Austrian, fresh off a victory at the WPBA's Great Lakes Classic, dominated Spain's Amalia Matas, 9-2, and outlasted Jeanette Lee, the 2001 gold medalist, 9-5, to move into the semifinal. With a 9-2 win over Taiwan's Chang Shu-Han, Ouschan, the defending gold medalist, was in her second consecutive World Games final.

Jumping out to a 3-1 lead, Ouschan took early control of the match. But Fisher responded, taking the next five racks for a 6-3 advantage. On the hill, 8-6, Fisher was unable to close out Ouschan the easy way, as she lost the next two games, forcing a case game for the title.

With the break, Ouschan scratched, giving Fisher first shot at the table. The Duchess of Doom, though, was forced to play safe. Ouschan faltered on the ensuing attempt, leaving Fisher a route to victory.

Her first major victory of the year, the World Games represents a new accomplishment for the most decorated player of this generation. And as Fisher prepares for her induction into the Hall of Fame in October, she's not ready to sit back and live off the memories of past glories.

"While it's an honor and a pinnacle moment [to be inducted into the Hall of Fame], I still want to win tournaments," she said. "I like the challenges and the tests that the game puts me through."

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