Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Contributing Editor
Hawaii 24/7 photos by Karin Stanton and Finn Gallagher
Pokemon has some new champions! Hundreds of players from around the globe packed the Hilton Waikoloa Village Grand Ballroom over the weekend, looking for that elusive world title.
After three days of games, Yuka Furusawa became the first girl to win the Junior Division championship ever. The Japanese youngster’s family erupted into cheers and a few tears from Mom and the new champ was hustled away for her first Japanese television interview.
As Furusawa was roundly spanking runner-up Juan Pablo Arenas of the U.S.A., Koichi Nishida, of Salem, Ore., was watching on the match on the giant TV screen with a few friends.
“The biggest match of his life and he’s messing it up,” Nishida groaned. “He’s just playing it wrong.”
Nishida, 11, said he had a good weekend, even though he was sitting on the sidelines for the final match.
“Well, I won against last year’s champion, so that was good. But it was really hard,” he said. “I got in the top 8, which was good, because I thought maybe I do top 32, but I never thought top 8.”
He said he has been playing Pokemon for about two years.
“I went to the league place and now I pretty much can beat everyone at home,” he said.
Nishida was cheering on by his parents during the competition.
“Mom and Dad are focusing a little bit on the vacation part, but I’m pretty much focusing on the Pokemon part,” he said.
Over near the winners’ circle, the Nayler family was waiting to congratulate Jacob Lesage, a friend from back home in Ontario.
Daughter Page Nayler was knocked out earlier in the tournament.
“It’s so nerve-wrecking to watch, so intense,” said mom Tracy. “Even when it’s not your kid!”
Dad Troy is busily texting on his phone.
“They are all back home just waiting to find out what’s up. They’ll all be so happy for Jacob. Page and he play back home. Page can beat him,” Troy said. “We’ve given up a day of sightseeing to here today. At this level, it’s just way more exciting.”
2010 Pokemon TCG World Champions
Champion: Yuka Furusawa (JP)
2nd Place: Juan Pablo Arenas (US)
3rd Place: Simon Taylor (US)
4th Place: Thomas Harle (FR)
Champion: Jacob Lesage (CA)
2nd Place: Mychael Bryan (US)
3rd Place: Ann-Marie Thompson (US)
4th Place: Hiroki Yano (JP)
Champion: Yuta Komatsuda (JP)
2nd Place: Michael Pramawat (US)
3rd Place: Frank Diaz (US)
4th Place: Miguel Garcia (CH)
2010 Pokemon VGC World Champions
Champion: Shota Yamamoto (JP)
2nd Place: Santa Ito (JP)
Champion: Ray Rizzo (US)
2nd Place: Yasuki Tochigi (JP)
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