Stricken with Tonsillitis, Hohmann Sneaks into Quarterfinals
by Mason King Jul 9, 2005, 3:42 AM EST
KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan, July 9 - Thorsten Hohmann has flown under the radar while being under the weather.
While fans made hay about surprise Filipino sensation Marlon Manalo and local hero Po-Cheng Kuo at the World Pool Championship, Hohmann made like he had the worst case of hay fever on record. In fact, the malady that had him weak and achy, and gave him a terrible sore throat, turned out to be tonsillitis.
Already an incredibly unassuming figure, Hohmann, the stoic 2003 world 9-ball champion, was hardly ever in sight and never seemed to make an impression on fans and odds-makers here in Kaohsiung as the brackets began to narrow.
Suddenly, though, there are just eight players left in the field, and Germany's Hohmann is one of just two former world champions still in the mix. (The other is 2001 title-holder Mika Immonen.)
Hohmann felt like he was catching a cold while in Manila in late June. After arriving in Kaohsiung, he felt better for a few days, but then he took a turn for the worse.
"It got worse and worse and worse, so I went to the hospital three or four days ago," Hohmann recounted on July 8 after the 11-7 victory over Jeremy Jones that gave him a place in the quarterfinals. "They said I had bronchitis, just like a regular cold. And they gave me some medicine, but I thought it was something different. It felt like I had a tennis ball in my throat. It was so swollen.
"Last night I couldn't sleep, and finally this morning at 6 o-clock I barely could breath. A friend who I live with, his father is a very famous doctor, so I called him and he told me what I need. He said it sounded like tonsillitis. I went downstairs at my hotel to reception and the nice lady took me to the hospital. The doctor said gave me a shot of something, and I immediately got better."
Still, during the latter stages of his match against Jones, Hohmann had a few coughing fits that had him reaching into his bag for large blue throat lozenges. After Jones had narrowed the gap between them to 8-7, Hohmann regained control of the table and ran through three straight racks at top speed, barely pausing between shots.
"I thought to myself, 'Just do it. Just get it over with,'" he said.
Hohmann now had just three matches between him and another world championship. He probably should be considered the favorite, or just as much as much a threat as the streaking Manalo, who has won 23 straight games here in Kaohsiung. Hohmann won the prestigious BCA 9-Ball Open Championship in May and has been playing as well as anyone over the last year.
True to form for the perfectionist German, Hohmann sees loads of room for improvement.
"I haven't been happy with my game the whole week," he said. "I want to enjoy the games but I couldn't because all my concentration was on my illness. It was making me upset. I haven't found my rhythm yet. Usually I play a little bit faster and act more confident."
Hohmann isn't ready to talk about a second title.
"When I won the world championship, I didn't feel like I was ready to win it. It just happened. And there is still a long way to go."