Young Bahamian pool master finishes fourth at VNEA World Junior Championships
Young Dakarai Turnquest, from Deadman’s Cay, Long Island, continues to make a name for himself, not just on his home island or in The Bahamas, but worldwide, in the game of pool.
Turnquest went up against the world’s best juniors in the game of pool over the weekend, and finished fourth overall at the 32nd Annual Valley National Eight-Ball Association (VNEA) World Junior Championships at the Bayfront Convention Center in Erie, Pennsylvania. Over 300 young players from all over the world competed in three age divisions for the right to be crowned junior world champions in their respective brackets.
In singles, Turnquest finished with an 8-2 win/loss record in the double elimination tournament, falling in the bronze medal game in the 12-15 age bracket. There were 61 athletes in his division. The talented young pool master, who continues to put The Bahamas on the map in cue sports, said he was pleased with his result and is looking forward to continued success.
In addition to placing fourth in singles, Turnquest won the ‘Speed Pool’ competition in his age group, was first in ‘Artistic Pool’ and third in doubles. The four-day tournament wrapped up on Sunday.
“I’m very proud of myself for my fourth-place finish and I know that my family and friends are proud, too,” said the 15-year-old 11th grader at NGM Major High School in Buckley’s, Long Island. “I’m also proud that I got first in my division in two other events, the speed pool challenge and the artistic pool challenge. I have received a lot of support the last couple of days, and I just wanted to represent The Bahamas the best way I could’ve.”
Despite being just 15, Turnquest is no stranger to international tournaments in pool. He is coming off a 13th place finish out of more than 200 participants in the nine-ball West Coast Challenge Florida Pool Tournament in Kissimmee, Florida, where he competed against shooters from all around the United States much older than himself.
Turnquest said he fell in love with the game from an early age and just continued to progress. His parents, Dania and Dominic Turnquest Sr., said they continued to push him, encouraging him to work on his craft while at the same time maintaining good grades in school. Turnquest is a 3.0 GPA (Grade Point Average) student at NGM and also excels in basketball, softball and sailing.
Turnquest spoke about the level of competition he faced in the world juniors tournament in Erie.
“The competition was extremely tough, and there was a lot of pressure, but I just went out there and gave it my best shot,” he said. “I want to some day become a professional, and my biggest goal is to be the world champion. I am committed to pool and with enough practice and perseverance, hopefully I can turn those dreams into reality.”
Turnquest is already regarded as the youngest pool master in the country, obtaining the title after finishing third at the ‘Battle of the Titans’ Tournament at Lloyd’s Sporting Lounge and Entertainment Center in Deans, Long Island, at the end of March 2021. He finished third in that tournament, and today, is regarded as one of the top pool shooters in the country. Ingrid and Ellis Major are the proprietors of Lloyd’s Sporting Lounge and are a couple of the chief supporters of Turnquest. They are strong contributors of the game of pool on Long Island, and in The Bahamas, and young Turnquest said he is grateful to them for the part they played in his development.
“I want to thank my parents for all the support and my dad for training me and for always rooting for me, and also my friends and family,” said Turnquest. “I also want to thank Mr. and Mrs. Major from Lloyd’s. The support is appreciated and has gone a long way.”
Now back in The Bahamas, the young pool master said he gained a lot of experience from playing in the world juniors and is looking forward to taking part in his next international tournament which he anticipates will be later this year.
The young Long Island native is passionate about the sport and looks to excel at the highest level. He is aiming to become the first professional pool shooter from The Bahamas and also wants to win a world title.
Fourth in the world!