Russia Joins World Snooker Federation

Russia Joins World Snooker Federation

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.”

New Agreement to Promote Global Cue Sports Governance

New Agreement to Promote Global Cue Sports Governance

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.”

WSF Junior Open / WSF Open 2020 – Draws Released

WSF Junior Open / WSF Open 2020 – Draws Released

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.

Triple Gold for Morocco as Snooker History is Made in Casablanca

Triple Gold for Morocco as Snooker History is Made in Casablanca

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/

Snooker to be included at 2019 African Games

Snooker to be included at 2019 African Games

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.