July 21, 2011

China lauded for winning Snooker World Cup 2011


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

The Asian Confederation of Billiards Sports (ACBS) have expressed immense delight at the Chinese victory in the just concluded PTT-EGAT Snooker World Cup 2011 at the Bangkok Convention Centre in Thailand.

“China have made the whole continent proud by winning the World Cup in the presence of the European giants. Their sensational victory augurs well for the future of the sport in the continent in general and their country in particular, Ali Asghar Valika, Executive Vice President, ACBS, remarked in an interview in Karachi upon his arrival from Bangkok.

The Chinese duo of Ding Junhui and Liang Wenbo completed a 4-2 victory over the Northern Ireland pair of Mark Allen and Gerard Greene in the final to pocket the trophy.

“This is the first time China have ever won the title and the Asian countries have a right to celebrate their accomplishment. They played superbly throughout the event and deserved the glory,” Asghar Valika, who was in Bangkok to witness the event,” observed.

The Chinese cueists were also understandably elated by with their side's achievement. "When the last World Cup was held I was nine and had only just picked up my first cue a few months before. I'm very proud of China,” the smiling Ding Junhui stated.

"We are the best two players from China and we are proud to win the World Cup. You don't get many chances to play in this tournament and this is the first time I've played in it but I hope I can play in this more times and win more times,” he added.

The breaks of 84 and 46 helped China move into a 3-0 lead in the final but a 115 from Greene in the fourth and 69 from Allen in the fifth made it 3-2 but Ding and Liang's effort of 89 in the doubles saw them lift the trophy and collect the $200,000.

"We were up against it right from the start and in the first two frames China played flawless snooker and we didn't have a chance. It was just about digging in and staying in the match and we managed to win two frames. But they played better snooker on the day so they probably deserved to win. It's disappointing but we found ourselves 2-0 down through no fault of our own,” Ireland’s Mark Allen conceded.

Pakistan had narrowly failed to qualify fir the quarter-finals despite having shocked Republic of Ireland in the opening game and overpowering Egypt 3-2 in their last league outing.

The youthful Pakistan duo of Shahid Aftab and Mohammad Sajjad came very close to creating the sensation of claiming a quarter-final spot at the expense of one of the European giants.

In the end, they had to settle with third place in the Group A, falling behind top seeded Wales and Republic of Ireland but finishing ahead of Germany and Egypt. Wales finished undefeated with 14 points while Republic of Ireland, despite losing to Pakistan in the opening match, aggregated 11 points with Pakistan ending up with 10 points.

Pakistan needed a bigger than 3-2 victory over Egypt to press home the advantage. They could have still sneaked into the quarters if leaders Wales hammered their rivals by 5-0 or 4-1 but the Irish duo of Ken Doherty, a former world champion, and Fergal O'Brien managed to snatch two frames while losing eventually to their Welsh rivals, Mark Williams and Mathew Stevens.

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