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09-10-2004, 06:00 AM
Fujairah set for championship
By Our Sports Reporter

10 September 2004



ABU DHABI - The last four tickets for the second World Eight-Ball Pool Championship in Fujairah will be up for grabs when the inaugural Middle East Championship here at the Liwa Centre gets underway at 7 tonight.


The 10-day championship has drawn players from Jordan, Syria and the Gulf nations, including expatriate Egyptians, Eritreans, Indians, Pakistanis and Filipinos, vying for the all-paid remaining four entries to the world championship from Sept 23 to October 1.

“The response has been overwhelming with Kuwait topping the entry list on 20. This is the first time a championship of this scale staged in Abu Dhabi. Obviously we are delighted and hopeful it becomes a regular feature in our calendar of events,” said Ahmed Ibrahim, promoter of the World Pool-Billiard Association. “The entries are based on a first come first served where 64 players vie for the top spot. The winner will advance to the semifinals and gain automatic qualification to the world championship.

The losing players get three more opportunities to win again,” explained Ibrahim, the first Arab to be nominated as promoter of the world governing body for the sport.

“This format allows each player with four winning opportunities. The qualifying rounds played over two days on six different tables will be a race for seven frames with the semifinals and final played for nine and 10 respectively,” he added. The Liwa Centre is decked for the occasion with five new championship tables at the Liwa Billiards and one at the main hall of the shopping mall complex for the feature games.

According to Ibrahim, plans are underway to stage a Masters championship in Dubai next year. “The Dubai event has been already granted Dh 1 million for promotions and would be the biggest after the World Championship Classic in Fujairah.”

Ibrahim, who started as a player before venturing into the development side of the sport, is confident the game has potential to grow in the region.

“There wasn’t a single pool table in Fujairah when I started five years ago but now there are more than 20 clubs. Fujairah has become the capital for pool-billiard. The growth has been phenomenal throughout the Emirates and the region,” he said.

“Dubai is obviously the most popular and has the potential develop the sport and stage mega pool events like the one we have earmarked for next year,” added Ibrahim, who has been granted a five-year term by the world body to stage championship events in the Middle East.

Sultan Al Shara, marketing and relationship director of eight-ball pool championship, said the capital’s event has opened new avenues to promote and develop the game in the region.

“The game is already popular and with more such tournaments we hope players will soon turn professional and be able to compete with the rest of the world,” he said.

T.C.Mathew, organiser of the Abu Dhabi leg of the qualifier and managing director of Liwa Billiards, and Edward Scothern, manager and chief engineer of Liwa Centre, echoed their delight of staging the championship at the mall and welcomed the public to witness some exciting fare.

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