For the second year in a row, Bahamian Dakarai Turnquest has finished fourth at one of the biggest pool tournaments in the world for junior players.
The 33rd Annual VNEA (Valley National Eight-Ball League Association) World Junior Championships wrapped up on Sunday at the Marriott Riverfront Hotel in South Sioux City, Nebraska, USA.
Over 300 young players from all over the world competed in three age divisions – 7-11, 12-15 (Minor) and 16-20 (Major).
At 16, Turnquest competed in the Major Division, and for the second year in a row, he finished fourth. He still has three more years of age eligibility remaining. About 80 players competed in his division and the young Bahamian said he is encouraged by his performance in the three-day tournament over the weekend.
Turnquest, who hails from Deadman’s Cay, Long Island, finished fourth with a 6-2 win/loss record over the three days of competition in the double elimination tournament.
Turnquest won four matches on the first day, 4-1, over Landen Mareau, by default over Ian Bowman Jr., 4-0, over Ashton Lyons and 4-1 over Jason McColl to reach the final eight.
On the second day of competition, Turnquest got off to a quick start, defeating American Austin Olson in his first match, 4-2. He then lost to Sheridan Burmester, of New Zealand, 4-2, before rebounding to take down American Zach Bryan, 4-3. Turnquest then went up against American Cody Seegert in the medal rounds and fell 4-1.
Seegert ended up with the bronze and Burmester fell in the gold medal match to Kieran Dempsey, of New Zealand, 4-2. Both the gold and silver medalists hail from New Zealand.
“It goes to show what they are doing over there. The competition on the whole was very tough, especially as the tournament went along,” said Turnquest on Monday. “I felt like I could have played better, but overall I’m satisfied. There were a lot of great players from all over, especially New Zealand and the United States. The competition was fierce. I was prepared for it, but I just made a few mistakes at the end.”
At just 16, the Bahamian pool shark was in a league with players older than himself. He said he sucked it up as a learning experience and will look to return to that stage in 2024.
“It was really good to play against more experienced guys. I’m satisfied. I just have to continue to adjust and continue to improve, and always be prepared to play,” he said. “One of the most pleasant things that happened was that a lot of kids were coming up to me and asking for tips and advice. They were asking for pictures and really looked up to me as one of the better players in the tournament. I really enjoyed that.”
Turnquest traveled to the global tournament with his father Dominic Turnquest Sr., who said he was proud of the way his son played and handled himself.
“I am extremely proud of him. He did well again. Not only did he play well, but he was also one of the most humble players in the tournament. A lot of people commended me for going overboard to support him, but he’s my son and I will always support him. Overall, he is well liked. Everyone liked his spirit. He made his family proud and the whole Bahamas should be proud of him.”
Donned in a Bahari Bahamas shirt and black slacks, Turnquest carried The Bahamas’ flag at the opening ceremony at the world juniors on Sunday as the only representative from The Bahamas.
“My goal is still to some day become a professional, and my biggest goal is to be world champion,” said Turnquest. “I know that I just have to continue to work hard and continue to practice and hopefully I could accomplish my goals.”
Turnquest is the youngest pool master in The Bahamas, 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, in 2021. Today, he is regarded as one of the top pool shooters in the country.