The very first World Riichi Championship was hosted in Paris by the TNT Club and the event was headed by Quentin Thomas and Valerian Thomas. It was a brave task to take on. None of us was quite sure how much support we would gain from the community and how such a novel event would be received. Quentin and Valerian, to our eternal gratitude, were brave enough to take up the challenge, and built the strongest foundation we could have hoped for in future events. Valerian has kindly written some words about his experience before we went into WRC 2017.
When we have started thinking about a World Riichi Championship five years ago, we could not imagine that this event will take place - this time - in a such fabulous place like Las Vegas and take it from us, we strongly know how difficult it can be to organize a major event like this.
Let's go back in December 2012, during the French Riichi Championship, in a small parisian café at the end of the day. We both had a long discussion with Martin Rep, about riichi in the world, and how nice it would be to make something bigger. During our friendly conversation, he told us that it would be something great for riichi to organize a World Championship. At that time, we just missed the opportunity to organize the European Championship, and, as an non-existent French club 3 years earlier, we asked ourselves if we can handle this challenge. Hopefully we were not alone. We have been able to rely on French, European, American and Japanese federations which have provided a lot of support, experience and good advics.
At the end, in July 2014, we have probably spent one of our best - and probably the most exhausting - week in our lives! Ok, to be honest, there were some smalls issues, and everything was not totally perfect. But 120 players from 22 countries during 5 days, fighting for the very first title of World Champion, it was just awesome!
So when the decision was made to have this session in Las Vegas, we were both really excited! That time, we wanted to participate and – perhaps, with a lot of luck – bring back a title in France! Unfortunately, it is with a great deal of regret that we cannot take part of this year new edition of the WRC. Professional life is something that riichi can’t always beat ;), but be sure that we’ll not miss the next one.
However, we will follow this amazing event with a lot of interest. If we have succeeded into creating the first event, we know for sure that Gemma Sakamoto and David Bresnik will bring this to an higher level.
We are so excited to see this small link between Riichi countries created three year ago growing and becoming stronger thanks to these amazing people. They already won this huge challenge for sure.
If you are one of the selected participants, you will have the opportunity to play in a symbolic place like Las Vegas, in an outstanding venue, with over 200 players coming from all around the world.
And we bet that you’ll probably agree with us: WRC Vegas’17 will be an outstanding event.
-Quentin and Valerian Thomas