The World Snooker Federation (WSF) and Malta Billiards & Snooker Association (MBSA) are today delighted to jointly announce the staging of two new WSF events as major amateur events providing qualification to the professional tour.
Two events will be held from 4-17 January 2020 at the Malta Snooker Academy and the San Antonio Hotel, the World Snooker Federation Junior Open (for players aged 17 and under) and the World Snooker Federation Open (All age groups). Both competitions will be open to players of all nationalities and both men and women equally, with the winner of each tournament to earn a two-year tour card to the World Snooker Tour from the start of the 2020/21 season.
Each recognised National Snooker Federation will be given the opportunity to nominate two players to each event for their national champions and top ranked players. This respects the valuable contribution many National and Regional Federations make to the development of talented players. In addition to these nominations, direct entries will then be accepted from players online, making this a truly open event for all players around the world who have aspirations to carve out a career in our sport.
Jason Ferguson, WSF President said: “This groundbreaking new open format for world level amateur events is a significant step forward to ensure we are a sport for all. The WSF are thrilled that this season’s tour qualifying events will be open to all, regardless of nationality, age or gender. Only the best in the world will make it to the World Snooker Tour.
“I am particularly proud that the WSF is developing a focus on junior talent. It is fundamental to the future of our sport that the next generation of talented players are presented with playing opportunities at world level with the unlimited prize of full graduation to the professional sport.
“I would like to extend my thanks to our friends at the MBSA who have once again shown us fantastic support during the planning of this tournament. Our inaugural Championships held in Malta back in 2018 were a real success and it is testament to the quality of the team in Malta that when the opportunity arose to return there for this tournament that we did not hesitate to say yes.”
Frans Bugeja, MBSA President said: “We are delighted to welcome the WSF back to Malta for these prestigious events. We look forward to building upon the success of last year’s great Championships and to see who will follow in the footsteps of 2018 champion Luo Honghao by lifting the open title.”
How to enter
It is anticipated that entry for both events will open during the week commencing 21st October. Confirmation of the entry process will be distributed to all national federations and posted on our website and social media platforms as soon as possible.
Entry for the WSF International Junior Open will be open to players 17 or under up to and including 31 December 2019.
The entry deadline for each event will be 1 December 2019 at 5:00pm.
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 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.
The inaugural WSF Championship is now down to just eight players in Malta, one of whom will leave on Saturday night having secured their place on the World Snooker Tour for the next two seasons.
However, with four tantalising places at next month’s professional World Championship qualifiers on offer for those who can make it to tomorrow evening’s semi-finals, the pressure is already on as we enter the business end of the tournament.
Among the first players to book their places in the last eight this evening were Poland’s Adam Stefanow and former professional Igor Figueiredo, who will now meet with a place in Sheffield at stake tomorrow.
Playing on the main table against the last of the Maltese players in action in their home country Duncan Bezzina, Stefanow closed out a comfortable 4-1 victory with breaks of 70 and 52 to progress. It was a similar story for next opponent Figueiredo who following a number of close early frames against Irish former pro Michael Judge, stepped it up a gear with runs of 86 and 89 to secure the win.
The highest break of the evening was made by Iceland’s Kristjan Helgason, who made 101 in a swift 4-0 victory against Marcin Nitschke of Poland to move into the quarter-finals.
There he will face Kishan Hirani, one of three Welsh players to come through a deciding frame during a memorable 15-minute spell late Thursday evening. Hirani saw off Singapore’s Lim Chun Kiat following a tense final frame to move to within a match of qualifying for Sheffield.
In the bottom half of the draw, the second of the evening’s Welsh winners Alex Taubman edged out former professional Kuldesh Johal 4-3, celebrating an important victory with a fist pump as he potted match ball. Awaiting him in the quarter-finals will be another former main tour player, Poland’s Kacper Filipiak who hit a top break of 76 in a 4-0 whitewash of Scotland’s Michael Collumb.
The final quarter-final match will see 23-year-old Jamie Clarke – looking to make his breakthrough onto the main tour for the first time – take on the impressive Chinese youngster Luo Honghao after the pair came through their matches this evening in contrasting fashion.
For Clarke, a nail-biting final frame against Belgium’s Kevin Hanssens, settled by a gutsy pot on the final pink with the rest to take a 4-3 victory, while teenager Luo was a dominant 4-0 winner against Ireland’s Thomas Dowling to progress.
The quarter-finals get underway at 11:00am local time, with places in the semi-finals – and more – to be decided as the tournament enters its penultimate day.
For more information about the tournament please visit www.worldsnookerfederation.org