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Photo courtesy Brendan Zheng
Photo courtesy Brendan Zheng
Brendan Zheng finished third in the 2016 Pokémon U.S. National Championships earlier this month.

He is on his way to being the very best like no one ever was.

Fresh Meadows native Brendan Zheng, 13, has shown that he has the skills to become a true Pokémon master, as he finished in third place at the 2016 Pokémon U.S. National Championships earlier this month.

Zheng traveled to Columbus, Ohio, for the tournament, held from July 1 to 3, where thousands of supporters and fans were in attendance to see him clinch third place in the video game senior division. Zheng took his best Pokémon and put them to the test against the other competitors in a best-of-three first round Swiss-style tournament.

Photo courtesy Brendan Zheng

Photo courtesy Brendan Zheng

After all was said and done, Zheng and his Pokémon battled well enough to take home third place, and win important Championship Points, which grants him entry into the 2016 Pokémon World Championships, an invitation-only tournament where the most elite Pokémon players from around the world compete for the coveted title of Pokémon World Champion.

“Getting third was bittersweet; my brother was the two-time Senior Division national champion a few years back and I really wanted to get that title as well, but being third allowed me to finish off the season as seventh in terms of Championship Points, points players earn based on their placements in tournaments,” Zheng said. “The top 8 in the United States and Canada are granted a free trip to the World Championships and an invitation to skip the first day of competition. I’m trying to figure a team [of Pokémon] out for the World Championships, but after that, it’s just practice. I’ve won before, and I know I can do it again.”

Competitors from more than 30 countries will descend on San Francisco to vie for the title, scholarships and prizes this August.

Zheng is excited for the World Championships, as he gets to battle his Pokémon against people from all over the globe.

“I love the community aspect of Pokémon,” Zheng said. “You don’t have the stereotypical smelly, sweaty people who have been in their basement playing all day, but rather people from different backgrounds joined together for their love of Pokémon.”

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