Igor Figueiredo will return to the World Snooker Tour from the start of the 2019/20 season following victory at the 2019 Pan American Snooker Championship earlier this month.
Held at Q Ball Snooker & Pool in Houston, Texas, the event was the first staged by the new continental federation, the Pan American Billiards and Snooker Association (PABSA) responsible for the development of snooker in the Americas region and supported by the World Snooker Federation.
Staged across five days spanning the end of January and early February, the Championship welcomed 48 players from countries including the United States of America, Bermuda and Canada, but it was Brazil’s Figueiredo who entered as the hot favourite to take the title.
Round-robin qualifying took place across the opening three days with the top three in each group advancing to the knockouts.
Figueiredo, who hails from Rio de Janeiro, eased through his section; topping Group A without losing a frame. Along with the seven other group winners, he went straight into the last 16 where he awaited the winner of a preliminary tie. For him that would be Saif Ibrahim (USA), whom he swiftly dispatched 4-0.
In the quarter-finals he faced current and four-time United States National Champion Ahmed Aly Elsayed. Despite dropping his first frame of the week, he progressed as a 4-1 victor. Local Houston player Mark White was next to feel the dominance of Figueiredo in the semi-finals, as he went down 5-1.
Figueiredo’s opponent in the final was Chicago’s Renat Denkha who was also undefeated throughout. Denkha booked his final berth after ousting former professional John White (Canada), 5-4, in the other last four tie.
However, the final would prove to be a step too far for the American, as Figueiredo raced away into a 5-0 lead. Despite dropping the sixth on a black-ball game, Figueiredo was not to be denied as he claimed victory in the next frame on the colours to capture the title, trophy and a two-year professional tour card to commence from the start of the 2019/20 campaign.
The 41-year-old is no stranger to snooker fans around the world, having spent six seasons on the professional circuit, most recently in 2017 when he reached the last 16 of both the Welsh Open and Gibraltar Open tournaments. He also reached the final qualifying round of the World Championship qualifiers in Sheffield back in 2015.
Competing as an amateur in recent years he has enjoyed considerable success in international Seniors events, most notably at the 2018 WSF Championships in Malta where he defeated highly decorated Welsh star Darren Morgan 5-3 to win the Seniors competition. The victory earned him a place at the 2018 World Championship qualifiers in Sheffield where he lost out to another Welsh player, Ryan Day.
Earlier this season he also reached the final of the UK Seniors Championship at the Bonus Arena in Hull, England. There he defeated 1986 world champion Joe Johnson, reigning world seniors champion Aaron Canavan and former professional Leo Fernandez, before losing out to another former world champion in Ireland’s Ken Doherty.
But next season he will return to the top tier looking to break into the world’s top 64 for the first time in his career and in light of his recent form few would bet against it.
2019 Pan American Snooker Championships
Results (from the quarter-finals onwards)
Igor Figueiredo (Brazil) 4-1 Ahmed Aly Elsayed (USA)
Mark White (USA) 4-2 Ajeya Prabhakar (USA)
John White (Canada) 4-2 Mark Collier (USA)
Levi Meiller (Canada) 1-4 Renat Denkha (USA)
Figueiredo 5-1 M.White
J.White 4-5 Denkha
Figueiredo 6-1 Denkha
Learn more about PABSA: https://www.pabsa.org/
It is with regret that we have taken the responsible decision to postpone the 2019 World Snooker Federation Championships.
It was disappointing that at this late stage the UAEBSA were unable to host us, however in order not to let down players and officials, the WSF board and management team took immediate action and formally secured an alternative location and date in just a few days. We must thank the China Billiards & Snooker Association (CBSA) for their offer of assistance in this matter.
Having reviewed this alternative plan and consulting with federations and partners, it is clear that a number of players may suffer due to travel arrangements and late visas. With this in mind, we feel it would not be appropriate to stage such a prestigious global event without a full international field of entry. We have therefore decided not to proceed with the event at this stage.
The WSF has become a large network for snooker and billiards development and is working to support many projects in regions around the world. World Snooker Tour Qualification is already being earned through WSF membership in the European Championships, Pan American Championship, Africas Championship and Oceania Championship. World Snooker Tour places are also granted to the CBSA through their national tour.
Further playing opportunities are also being developed through WSF member regions and national federations. We are excited to be the supporting partner to the African Billiards & Snooker Confederation for snookers inclusion in the 2019 African Games, something which can only be described as a landmark achievement for our sports globalisation.
The official 2019 World Women’s Snooker Championship, part of the World Women’s Snooker Tour will continue to be staged in the next few months. Further opportunities will be available for federations to nominate players for this event and venue details and dates will be communicated to you soon.
Danish cueist Daniel Kandi won the Nordic Snooker Championship for the first time last weekend at the Snookerhallen in Stockholm, Sweden.
The annual event, organised by the Nordic Billiard Council (and this year hosted by the Swedish Billiard Federation), features players from all five Nordic countries. As with previous editions, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden each sent eight representatives to the 40-player tournament.
Split into eight groups of five, the top two from each round robin qualified for the last 16 straight elimination phase. Every country had a player in each group.
Kandi, who won the 2018 Danish National Championship making a 147 maximum break along the way, finished top of group 8 after winning all four matches and dropping just one frame. He then dispatched Finnish pair Janne Häkkinen (4-1) and Antti Tolvanen (4-2) in the last 16 and 8 respectively.
In the semi-finals Kandi made a half century break in each frame as he ended the defence of 2018 champion Belan Sharif (Sweden) with a comfortable 4-0 victory. It meant some revenge for Kandi having lost to Sharif in the final twelve months before.
His opponent in this year’s final was another one of the pre-tournament favourites, Patrik Tiihonen, the 2017 runner-up. The Finnish teenager topped group 6 with three wins out of four and relinquished just two frames when denying Timo Salovaara (Finland) 4-1, Jim Johansson (Sweden) 4-1 and Mats Eriksson (Sweden) 4-0 afterwards.
Tiihonen made a positive start to the best-of-nine frames final when he took the opener with the help of a 68 break, however Kandi chalked up the next three to go 3-1 up at the mid-session interval. On resumption Tiihonen squared the match at 3-3 (60 break, frame 6). Kandi then moved onto the hill after a run of 75, but the younger of the pair forced it all the way when securing frame 8.
In a close and dramatic conclusion, Tiihonen held a small advantage in the decider but failed to pot one of the four remaining reds. It would be his last shot as Kandi kept his nerve with a gutsy break of 42 as he won on the final pink.
Kandi, a competitor at 2018 Q-School in Burton, pocketed 1,000 Euros, whilst Tiihonen received 500. Semi-finalists Sahrif and Eriksson each banked 250.
To see the full results, please either visit cuetracker.net or here.
The final is available to watch in full at YouTube.
Article originally written by Michael Day for The Cue View.
It has been announced by the African Billiards and Snooker Confederation (ABSC) that snooker will be included at the African Games for the first time later this year, representing a landmark development for our sport in the region.
Now organised by the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA), the African Union (AU) and the Association of African Sports Confederations (AASC), the African Games were first staged in 1965 with approximately 2,500 athletes from 30 countries taking part. The 2019 Games represent the 12th edition of the event and will take place from 20 August – 1 September in Casablanca & Rabat, Morocco.
The decision to include snooker as a medal sport for the first time comes following significant work undertaken by the ABSC and in particular its president Mohammed El-Kammah who has worked tirelessly to make this dream become a reality.
It has been confirmed that member countries of the ABSC will be eligible to nominate players to compete at the Games. Non-member countries are therefore encouraged to become members of the ABSC so that as many people as possible will have the opportunity to pick up a cue and ensure that snooker is strongly represented in Morocco.
Among the most successful players to have emerged from the region include South African Perrie Mans, who reached the final of the world championship at the iconic Crucible Theatre back in 1978, losing 25-18 to Ray Reardon. Other players to make an impact at this time were former British Open champion Silvino Francisco and his nephew Peter, who rose as high as 14th in the world rankings and more recently competed at the World Games in Wroclaw in the summer of 2017.
Egypt’s Basem Eltahhan was the winner of the African Snooker Championship in 2017 and currently competes on the professional circuit, notably coming close to causing an upset against Mark Selby in the opening round of the UK Championship during his debut season before losing 6-4.
Mohammed El-Kammah, ABSC President said: “It is a dream that came true. Only 26 sports will be included in the African games and Snooker is one of them. Africa is a big continent and being in the African Games will create opportunities for every company working in the cue sports business. Players in Africa will be recognised for their achievement and probably talented players will be able to find sponsors and earn money. My next stop will be the Mediterranean Games and with the cooperation of my good friend Mr. Jason Ferguson, we will make it.”
Jason Ferguson, WPBSA Chairman said: “Any true global sport should reach out to every corner of the word to create opportunities for all. This is the true meaning of sport and is a further demonstration of development in cooperation with the WPBSA Group and the World Snooker Federation membership.
“Africa as a region has always made a significant contribution to snooker and this will help to develop opportunities for funding which will help aspiring players across the continent. I would like to offer my profound gratitude to my friend Mohammed El-Kammah for his lifetime of work that has helped to make this possible.”
Further information will be released here by the ABSC in due course.
The 2019 Pan American Snooker Championship will come to the United States, as the newly formed Pan American Billiards and Snooker Association (PABSA) will host this prestigious international snooker event at Q Ball Snooker & Pool in Houston, Texas, from January 30 – February 3.
The competition will have the top 48 players from North and South America including former professionals from the region. It will be spearheaded with players such as Igor Figueiredo and Itaro Santos, will also have pool professionals including Corey Deuel participate in the competition. Top players from Canada, USA and Bermuda will also be competing to win the prestigious Pan American snooker championship.
The Championship will commence just days after the conclusion of the 2019 World Seniors Snooker Championship qualifying event at Q Ball Snooker & Pool, giving those eligible players the opportunity to compete in both competitions.
PABSA will also be holding regional billiards event, the first of it that will be held in Winnipeg, Canada in May of 2019. Women’s and Masters events will be held from 2020 as a part of the Pan American Championships.
Prior to the Championship, PABSA will hold their first meeting, and it is anticipated that Jason Ferguson, the chairman of both the World Professional Billiards & Snooker Association (WPBSA) and the World Snooker Federation (WSF), will be present.
Ajeya Prabhakar, PABSA president said: “We are extremely proud to be able to hold the Pan American Snooker Championships in the US and we are looking to grow from strength to strength in our region. We have a lot of history with snooker in the region and we are happy that its again growing with clubs and viewership expanding here. We would like to thank the WSF and especially Jason Ferguson for patiently working with us and the unwavering support he has given us.”
Learn more about PABSA at its website: www.pabsa.org