The World Snooker Federation (WSF) and Australian Billiards and Snooker Council (ABSC) have jointly announced that the WSF Open and WSF Junior Open tournaments due to be held in January 2021 have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The mixed-gender competitions holding World Snooker Tour qualification won this year by Ashley Hugill and Gao Yang respectively were due to be held at the Snooker SA Venue in Adelaide, South Australia for the first time.
Due to the ongoing effects of the outbreak and travel restrictions in place, both nationally in Australia and across the world as a whole, both parties have taken the responsible decision to postpone these plans by 12 months to 2022.
Both the WSF and ABSC remain committed to hosting the event as soon as it is practical to do so for all involved with the event and will continue to monitor the situation for 2022.
WSF competitions provide an important pathway to the World Snooker Tour for amateur players and alongside the WPBSA, the WSF is currently reviewing options as to how these opportunities can be maintained this season so that players are not disadvantaged.
Jason Ferguson, WSF President said: “I would like to put on record our thanks to ABSC President Frank Dewens who leads a very capable organising team in Australia. In consulting regularly, we have reached what is a sensible decision for all parties. The WSF vision does not change, we are committed to moving major events like these around the world as we must ensure those who have vast distances to travel are presented with opportunities to fulfil their dreams. Adelaide is a stunning destination for these prestigious events, and we will do everything possible to ensure we deliver on our plan for 2022. In the meantime, we will continue to monitor the global situation and will investigate all opportunities to hold the 2021 WSF events prior to the 2021/22 season”
Frank Dewens, ABSC President said: “It is indeed a huge disappointment that we have had to postpone these prestigious events until 2022. This decision did not come easy, but we have a duty of care to the snooker fraternity to provide a safe environment for all. We considered delaying hosting these evets until later in 2021 but with the uncertainty of travel restrictions throughout the world we decided to postpone until 2022. We are committed in supporting the WSF events and look forward to hosting these events as soon as it is possible to do so.”
The World Snooker Federation (WSF) is today pleased to announce Russia as the latest country to become a WSF member.
Russia has seen the popularity of snooker increase significantly in recent years with both male and female players making an impact on the international stage.
Following positive talks with representatives of the Federation of Billiards Sport of Russia (FBSR), the WSF is now delighted to be able to welcome Russia to its international network. Both parties are confident that this will help further promote the development of snooker in Russia and provide opportunities for its elite players to compete at the sport’s most prestigious events.
Earlier this month 21-year-old Ivan Kakovskiy made his debut at the professional Betfred World Snooker Championship, impressing many by claiming three frames against six-time World Championship finalist and current World Seniors Snooker Champion Jimmy White. His selection was merited after he claimed his fifth national title in six years, having emerged from a 57-player field at the Polygon Billiards Club in Moscow.
At the 2019 World Women’s Snooker Championship, 11-year-old Ksenia Zhukova became one of the youngest women to win a match at the sport’s biggest tournament for female players, successfully qualifying from the group stages before losing to former world under-21 champion Varshaa Sanjeev at the last 24 stage.
Jason Ferguson, WSF President said: “It is a great honour for us to welcome Russia to our federation. There is real passion for billiards sports in Russia and the team at the FBSR should be highly commended for the way in which they are developing young talented players in the region. I look forward to the day when a player from Russia qualifies to the full World Snooker Tour.”
Sergei Riabinin, Vice-President of the FBSR said: “We are very happy to join the WSF and believe that this will help our best players to reach the professional World Snooker Tour in the future.”
The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) and the Professional Billiards Association (PBA) are today delighted to jointly announce a new Memorandum of Understanding which will see both organisations cooperate in the global governance of cue sports.
The agreement will see both organisations assist each other in the general promotion of cuesports. This is to include the promotion of diversity, equality and to share best practice of sports governance, event organisation and player membership models.
The PBA was inaugurated in May 2019, together with its Commissioner Young-soo Kim, a former Minister of Culture and Sports who has a wealth of experience in the sector having previously served as the 3rd Incheon Asian Games Organising Committee Chairman. Last season’s PBA Tour saw seven prestigious events staged during the second half of last year, before its scheduled finals were postponed due to the current Coronavirus outbreak.
The agreement between the WPBSA and the PBA will also see both organisations co-operate to promote the selection of billiards sports as part of the Olympic Programme for the 2032 Games.
WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson said: “I am very pleased that the WPBSA will now work together with the PBA on the promotion and governance of our respective cuesports disciplines on a long-term basis. We have kept a close eye on the growth of the PBA and it has been particularly encouraging to see development of the organisation in such a clear and transparent manner.
“The high quality of events delivered by the PBA Tour to date and the number of blue-chip companies that have been attracted is most impressive and we look forward to working on projects together in the future.”
PBA Commissioner Young-soo Kim said: “It is a big honour for the PBA to cooperate with the WPBSA, which has been settled as the greatest professional sport association with a history of more than 50 years. We will try our best and cooperate to promote and develop billiards to the world, especially for the billiards to be designated as an official Olympic Games sports programme.”
The group stage draws have today been released for the WSF Junior Open and WSF Open tournaments to be played in Malta from 4-17 January 2020.
Organised by the World Snooker Federation (WSF), together with the Malta Billiards and Snooker Federation (MBSA), the prestigious tournaments have attracted over 200 entries from players of 40 nationalities.
To be staged across two venues, the db San Antonio Hotel and the Malta Snooker Academy, each open competition has a diverse field including former professionals, future stars, players with disabilities and female players.
As well as the honour of becoming champion for 2020, the winner of each competition will also earn a coveted two-year card to the professional World Snooker Tour from the start of the 2020/21 season.
Jason Ferguson, WSF President said: “I am delighted by the level of entries that we have received from players across the globe for our upcoming tournaments in Malta.
“In the junior competition we see young players who are the future of our sport and it is crucial that we are able to provide opportunities such as this to allow them to qualify for the professional circuit and achieve their dream. Several of these players have already begun to make a name for themselves in important tournaments and I am excited to see who will emerge victorious.
“The Open tournament also as an equally intriguing field which includes a mix of familiar and new faces. Whether it is a former professional hoping to earn another chance at the main tour, or a new winner such as our previous champion Luo Honghao, who has since gone on to make an impact at the highest level, this year’s winner in Malta will have fully earned their opportunity.
“I would like to wish all of the players competing the best of luck in Malta and also to thank our wonderful hosts at the MBSA for all of their hard work and support so far.”
Further information, including the full match schedule will be sent to players over the next few days.
Moroccan snooker players dominated on home soil this week by claiming a trio of gold medals as the sport was contested at the African Games for the first time in its history.
The 12th staging of Africa’s biggest multisports event has seen athletes from 54 African nations come together across 26 sports including snooker. Staged at the Hotel Farah in Casablanca the groundbreaking competition saw full-medal tournaments contested by men, women and mixed gender doubles teams.
There was a dramatic victory for Morocco’s Amiri Amine in the men’s competition on Saturday as he won a deciding-frame shoot out against Abdulraham Haridi of Egypt. It was Haridi who led 2-0 and 3-2 in their best of seven frame encounter, before Amine took frame six on a re-spotted black to force a decider that he would ultimately go on to dominate on his way to claiming gold.
The bronze-medal match was also won by Morocco as Yassime Bellamine defeated African champion Mohamed Ibrahim 4-2 to claim the final step on the podium.
The first competition of the week to be played was won by Morocco’s Yousra Matine as she defeated Ganton Askiri of Egypt to claim gold in the women’s event, with Hakima Kissai taking bronze.
There was better news for Kissai in Wednesday’s mixed doubles event, however, as together with Yassime Bellamine the pair defeated Amiri Amine and Yousra Matine to claim gold. Egypt finished in the bronze medal position with Mohamed Ibrahim and Yara Sharaf.
The event was well-supported throughout the week with visits from distinguished guests including AASC President General Ahmed Nasser, Africa Billiards and Snooker Confederation President Mohamed El-Kammah and World Snooker Federation President Jason Ferguson.
The event received significant media interest across Africa with live action and interviews broadcast on television and online.
Mohamed El-Kammah said: “It has been a dream to see our sport enter such a prestigious occasion as the African Games. It is a journey that began many years ago and I am very proud to see this dream become a reality. Egyptian players have always had a strong presence in snooker, I believe the opportunity to earn medals will now inspire the next generation.”
Jason Ferguson said: “It has been an honour to work on this project along with our regional federation, the ABSC. It is clear that our sport has a place in the Africas and this landmark inclusion event is just the beginning as we aim to provide more opportunity for players in the region. I must thank Ahmed Nasser, Mohamed El-Kammah and their teams for their inspiration in making great strides for our sport.”
Learn more about snooker in Africa: https://www.africabsf.com/