As the players get ready for the first of the Home Nations tournaments, the English Open, the focus is understandably on that event. There are however other snooker news worth a mention.
12th October 2019
The World Snooker Federation (WSF) and Malta Billiards & Snooker Association (MBSA) are today delighted to jointly announce the staging of the new WSF Championships 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 8 December 2019 at midnight.
This is of course good news. When the first WSF event was played in Malta nearly two years ago, it created a lot of hopes and expectations. Unfortunately they didn’t really materialise until now. This time there is no Women nor Seniors event, the focus clearly set on the Juniors. The only concern I have is about the hotel, which is quite a luxury and expensive one. Hopefully the event being played in the winter the prices will be “softer” than what is their usual standard otherwise this might be a real hurdle for some juniors in particular. Of course, setting up a number of snooker tables, in good conditions, requires space and adequate environment, which this type of hotel is usually able to offer.
Basically they added the wilcards to the draw. Ronnie will play his held-over match against Dominic Dale on the opening day in the afternoon – morning in Europe. Should he win he will play Fergal O’Brien the next day, in the afternoon again. Hopefully, Ronnie will be able to fly to China a few days ahead as to get over the worst of the jet-lag.
It was Bex Kenna who won it – her first title – beating Bai Yulu, a 16 years old from China, in the Final. The score was 4-1. Bai Yulu has been mentioned a few times on this site by Lewis who is our “China expert”. She plays along the men in the CBSA events. Bex – as she mentions in the above article – came quite late to the snooker and her progress has been truly remarkable. She played in her local league but faced a sexist attitude in some clubs who wouldn’t allow her to play in their premices. She fought – still fights – for herself and all the female players and is a great promoter of the Women’s game. Well done Bex!