The World Billiards Championship gets underway this Monday, October 21, as enthusiastic cueists from all over the world congregate on the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds.
The qualification process, which was due to start Friday, was cancelled after a number of withdrawals from the main event and a lack of applicants to replace them with. The Jim Williamson Memorial World Open will now act as a warm-up to the main event this weekend.
|Billiards World Championship (Long-Up) Draw|
|A||A Kumar||D Causier||B N Thanh||F Durham||G Heys|
|B||C W Steiner||D Haria||Qualifier 4||J McIntyre||M Bolton|
|C||M Russell||A Mohan||Qualifier 8||Qualifier 11||N Patel|
|D||A Lynch||I Williamson||K N Trung||S Venkateshwaran||P Gilchrist|
|E||Qualifier 6||M Jain||N Bolton||R Hall||Qualifier 12|
|F||G Jones||B Bhaskar||Qualifier 9||P Mumford||T W Carey|
|G||N P Hoai||M Goodwill||A Winn||M Budge||Ad Agrawal|
|H||Qualifier 7||P Tankard||D O'Neill||J Barker||R Shah|
|I||Qualifier 5||S Kothari||S Parikh||R Wilson||Qualifier 10|
|J||L N Thanh||F Knoll||J Dhingra||M Pearson||C Taylor|
|K||M Nolan||A Davies||D Sitwala||Ar Agrawal||Qualifier 1|
|L||Qualifier 3||M Schmidt||P Davis||A Shandilya||R Kumar|
|M||Qualifier 2||E Palmius||D Joshi||G Sethi||G Meadley|
|WB Events Online|
Click here to see the full schedule
The tournament took a hit at the beginning of the month when seven-time champion, and last year’s winner, Pankaj Advani decided to play the International Championship—a snooker event—in China rather than defend his crown.
Advani, who NDTV Sports call the poster boy for cue sports in India, said of his decision:
This time, I want to focus on snooker a little more. I have had my share of success in the 3-ball game and want to extend that to snooker now. But yes, the decision was yet another difficult one given this will be the first time I will be skipping the World Billiards Championship ever since I first started playing in it.
In the absence of Advani, who would have been the eighth-highest ranked participant, here’s a look at some potential champions.
The Englishman tops the ranking list with 22539.03 points this season and will be one of the favourites to be crowned world champion come Sunday.
Hall, who will be taking a break from his day job as manager of his family’s hotel in Lincolnshire for the event, has 14 senior England caps, but he has never won the world title.
Bolton, who sits third in the rankings, received a direct nomination into the World Billiards Championship after winning the Oceania title back in March.
The Australian was responsible for breaking Billiards legend Bob Marshall’s highest break ever back in 2011. Marshall’s 702, which he notched in 1953, was considered unbeatable—until Bolton hit a mark of 831 at the World Championship in Ireland.
Goodwill currently sits fourth in the 2013/14 rankings list and is another cueist to keep an eye on next week.
The former RAF man, who, according to his World Billiards profile, plays with a cue that set him back £7, has previously won the European Championships along with numerous English Billiards Open Series events.
John Inverdale referred to Russell as the “most unsung of all British world champions” in The Telegraph back in 2007, and he probably had a point.
Russell, who was defeated by Advani in last year’s final, became the youngest player ever to win the World Billiards Championship when he was 20, and he has won 11 in total.
Russell was a beaten finalist at last year’s tournament, and he will be eager to regain his crown.
Sethi is one of seven Indians in the top 20 in the rankings, but he is one of the more decorated.
The 52-year-old won the fifth of his world titles in 2006, but he can’t be counted out of the reckoning next week in Leeds. He is a star of the game in India—he was previously awarded the highest sporting honour by the president—and in the absence of Advani he will be looking to fly the flag for his nation.