We are today delighted to welcome the Oceania Billiards and Snooker Federation (OBSF) as the latest full member of the World Snooker Federation (WSF).
The WSF continues to welcome the support of national and regional bodies that share its commitment to both good governance and the expansion of amateur snooker across the globe. With its rich history in the sport, the Oceania region is a key area for strategic development over the coming years and both the WSF and OBSF are excited about the opportunities ahead.
As previously announced, Oceania will be granted a place at this year’s SangSom 6-Red World Championship in Thailand, with a qualifying tournament to be staged in July. This is just the beginning as WSF align the interests of Oceania’s many players with the World Snooker Tour.
Jason Ferguson, WSF President said: “I am today pleased to be able to welcome the OBSF to the WSF family. The Oceania region has played a significant role in a long history of billiards sports. OBSF President Frank Dewens and his team work tirelessly providing a strong framework for our sport to develop and I am very excited to be able to harness this passion and commitment within our group.”
We are today pleased to announce further information in respect of six international qualifiers who will compete at this year’s SangSom 6-Red World Championship in September.
The tenth staging of the event won in 2017 by Mark Williams will take place from 3-8 September in Bangkok, Thailand, with a mix of the sport’s top professionals and leading amateurs making up a top class international field.
Following discussions between representatives of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA), WSF and the tournament organising committee it has been agreed that six of the qualifying players will be selected as follows:
- 1x Africa qualifier
- 1x U.A.E. qualifier
- 1x European qualifier
- 1x Oceania qualifier
- 2x WSF qualifiers
Former professional world number 95 Mohamed Khairy of Egypt will represent Africa following his victory at the 2018 African 6-Red Championship in Cairo last month.
He will be joined by 2007 Asian Indoor Games snooker gold medallist Mohammed Shehab of the United Arab Emirates, a well-known and highly decorated player in the region which is working closely with the WSF in respect of ongoing and future projects.
New professional Luo Honghao of China and Marvin Lim Chun Kiat from Singapore have also qualified as the best two performing Asian players at the inaugural WSF Championship in Malta earlier this year.
The names of the final two players are still to be confirmed, with the winners of this week’s EBSA European 6-Red Championship and of a 6-Red qualifying tournament to be staged in Oceania this July to also earn their places in Thailand.
Jason Ferguson, WSF President said: “This is another significant demonstration of our global strategy of collaboration with the many regional and national federations who have pledged their support to the WSF to date. We are proud to be able to provide a pathway to significant international tournaments such as the SangSom 6-Red World Championship as the event celebrates its tenth anniversary this year in Thailand.”
The announced players will join 16 professionals from the World Snooker Tour, as well as a further 10 amateur players to be invited by the tournament organising committee.
Read how Mark Williams captured the title for the first time last year HERE.
The WPBSA and World Snooker have today announced further information in respect of the nominated players who will participate in the new Challenge Tour.
To operate as a secondary circuit to the World Snooker Tour, Challenge Tour will comprise 10 events to be staged across the UK and mainland Europe during the 2018/19 season.
The top 64 players on the final 2018 Q School Rankings, excluding those who have qualified for the main tour, will be eligible to compete in each Challenge Tour event.
Up to eight more players will be added to the tour based on the following criteria agreed by the WPBSA in consultation with the World Snooker Federation (WSF):
European WSF Member Federations hosting Challenge Tour Events
- National Champion of Latvia
- National Champion of Belgium
- TBC – EBSA Host European Federation
Players who reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Snooker Federation Mixed Championships
- Kacper Filipiak of Poland
- Kristjan Helgason of Iceland
World Women’s Snooker Tour
- Ng On Yee of Hong Kong (2018 WLBS World Women’s Snooker champion)
- Reanne Evans of England (2017/2018 season end WLBS World Women’s no.1 ranked, or next in line if the same as world champion)
The eighth nomination was the WSF Championship runner-up Adam Stefanów, however it was recently announced that he is now to join the World Snooker Tour from the 2018/19 season.
Should any of the above players not enter a Challenge Tour event, any further players will be selected based upon the Q School Rankings. National federations will not have the option to transfer these invitations to other players.
Challenge Tour will provide a direct pathway to the World Snooker Tour, with the top two players on the final Order of Merit to receive a two-year professional ticket from the start of the 2019/20 season.
There will be a total prize fund of £100,000 to be provided by the WPBSA as part of its ongoing commitment to amateur snooker which has recently seen the formalisation of the International Federation for Snooker, the WSF.
WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson said: “I am delighted to see the gap between amateur and professional snooker getting smaller with the introduction of the World Snooker Challenge Tour in Europe. We have seen many young talented players coming through in China through competing on the CBSA Tour which provides excellent playing opportunities for leading players in the region. There is a strong appetite from elite performing amateur players across Europe to have similar opportunities as they look to develop a full-time career in our sport.
This new Challenge Tour will not only provide the opportunity to compete at a high-level in match conditions, it will also be a place where as a world governing body we can educate the next generation of players and officials to safeguard our sport’s future.”
The first Challenge Tour event gets underway this Saturday at the Meadowside Leisure Centre in Burton and will run for two days with a total prize fund of £10,000.
World Snooker Federation Championship runner-up Adam Stefanów will take his place on the World Snooker Tour for the first time at the start of the 2018/19 season.
After Lyu Haotian climbed into the top 64 of the world rankings at the end of last season following the first year of his two-year tour card, an extra place has now become available on the professional circuit.
Following consultation between World Snooker, the WPBSA and the World Snooker Federation it has been decided that Poland’s Stefanów is to receive the invitation to join the tour, based on being next in line as runner up in the WSF Championship which was held in Malta earlier this year.
Having described the WSF Championship as his ‘last chance’ to qualify for the professional circuit, the tournament proved to be bittersweet for the 24-year-old as he performed brilliantly to reach the final at the Dolmen Hotel, before falling short to eventual champion Luo Honghao of China.
But Stefanów, who for the past three years has lived in Sheffield, England, will now become the first Polish player to compete on the professional circuit since Kacper Filipiak during the 2011/12 season.
Adam Stefanów said: “This is a dream come true for me! There are millions of people playing snooker around the world and to receive the ticket to the dream that I have had for 13 years of being one the 128 players to play on the main tour is absolutely fantastic.
“I feel ready for the opportunity, I am at the perfect age and I know that I can continue to improve as a player. I have been so dedicated to this sport since I was 11 and am so proud that I will be the first player to represent my country on the professional circuit with a two-year tour card. Snooker is such a huge sport in Poland and I am determined to be able to do something special for our game.”
WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson said: “It is a pleasure for us to be able to welcome Adam Stefanów to the main tour as the next player in line following his exceptional performance at the WSF Championship in Malta.
“The WSF is providing inspirational opportunities to amateur snooker players across the globe who demonstrate their commitment to the sport at the highest international level. Adam is a hard working passionate player who has improved tremendously in recent times, he is exactly the type of competitor that the World Snooker Tour requires and he thoroughly deserves a chance to compete amongst the world’s best players.”
The first-ever mixed gender WSF Championship staged by the World Snooker Federation has been won by Chinese teenager Luo Honghao following a 6-0 demolition of Adam Stefanów today in Malta.
Both players progressed to today’s showpiece match following deciding-frame victories yesterday, but the final proved to be a one-sided affair. Luo followed an opening frame break of 52 with further runs of 54, 60 and a spectacular 87 during the last frame before the mid-session interval.
Poland’s Stefanów had been one of the tournament’s most-impressive performers in the run up to the final, but could not find his best form during the title decider and scored just 97 points during the course of the final.
For Luo, the victory not only sees him inscribe his name into history as the first-ever winner of the prestigious new event, but also earns him the top prize of €10,000 and a coveted place on the World Snooker Tour from the start of the 2018/19 season.
“I am really excited to be joining the World Snooker Tour for the first time,” said a delighted Luo. “There were a lot of great players in this event and so I am really happy to win this final.
“I tried my best to win every match and to take every shot like in practice and I am now really excited to be joining the main tour.”
Today’s final brings down the curtain on a landmark event in Malta which has seen three significant titles decided during the past two weeks.
The WSF Championships began with the staging of the World Women’s Snooker Championship and the WSF Seniors Championship, won by Hong Kong’s Ng On Yee and Igor Figueiredo respectively.
The tournaments were followed by the new WSF Championship, a mixed gender event carrying not only a main tour card for the winner, but coveted places at next month’s professional World Championship in Sheffield, won by Luo, Stefanów, Kristjan Helgason and Kacper Filipiak as the quartet reached the semi-finals on Friday.
The World Snooker Federation would like to extend its thanks to all of the players, officials and national federations who have supported what has been a hugely successful event in Malta.
Poland’s Adam Stefanów is through to the final of the inaugural WSF Championship following a dramatic 4-3 victory against former professional Kristjan Helgason in Malta.
Having already secured his place in the last four with an impressive 4-2 victory against last week’s WSF Seniors Championship winner Igor Figueiredo earlier in the day, it appeared as though his run was coming to an end as he fell behind 3-1 against Iceland’s Helgason who hit top scored with a break of 119 in the third frame.
But the 24-year-old had other ideas however as he closed the gap to a single frame with a break of 52, before restricting his opponent to just nine points during the final two frames as he completed a memorable turnaround.
“I told myself to keep on trying and I was just waiting for a chance from Kristjan,” explained Stefanów immediately after the match. “He played too good to go 3-1 up, he didn’t miss many balls.
“But I made breaks of 57, 60 to go 3-2 and then he started to miss and I made a good 40 under pressure in the decider. I felt really comfortable, I have been there so many times and I am only 24 but I just realised how much experience that I have from playing for 14 years so I just tried my best.”
Stefanów is now just one victory away from earning a two-year ticket to the World Snooker Tour for what would be the first time in his career if he can take victory in tomorrow’s best-of-11 frames final in Malta.
Visibly emotional as he wiped away the tears while potting the winning balls, Stefanów revealed the extra significance of a tournament that until just a few weeks ago he was not expecting to be competing in.
“It’s just a crazy story really,” explained Stefanów. “I’m not supposed to even be here, but I had a good run in the European Championships last month Sofia, Bulgaria and I got a wildcard to play.
“The last three years have been really hard as I have been living in Sheffield, England and working full time in a restaurant as well as playing snooker full-time. I have been very dedicated but I couldn’t do both anymore and recently came back to Poland after receiving a good job offer.
“So I came into the tournament knowing that it could be my last chance and 3-1 down I thought it would be good to finish with a semi-final in a tournament like this one. But I said ok last tournament, keep trying, keep trying and now I am into the final. When I came back to Poland I thought that I am not good enough to be on the main tour, but now tomorrow I am playing a match to be there so it is crazy!”
As he now awaits the winner of the day’s second semi-final between countryman Kacper Filipiak and 18-year-old Luo Honghao of China, Stefanów has no doubt as to who he wants to come up against in tomorrow’s title decider.
“I hope that my friend Kacper can come through tonight and that we are going to play together and show that we have really good players in Poland. We both still very young and I am really happy for snooker in Poland that we have been able to play well this week. If one of us can take the tour card it would be massive for snooker back home.”
Earlier in the day both Stefanów and Filipiak secured their places at next month’s professional World Championship in Sheffield, together with fellow semi-finalists Kristjan Helgason and Luo Honghao by making it through their quarter-final matches in the morning.
The second semi-final gets underway at 9:00pm local time, ahead of tomorrow’s two-session final from 10:00am, with the first to six frames being crowned the first-ever WSF Championship winner and earning their place on the World Snooker Tour.