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04-04-2005, 10:52 PM
Locals get a look-in at Bali Open

Moch N. Kurniawan, The Jakarta Post, Kuta, Bali

As qualifying rounds began for the A Mild Bali International Open on Monday, many local hopefuls showed up to compete for a place among top-ranked billiard players from 18 countries in the main draw.

Among the stars confirmed to play the Rp 208 million (US$21,800) annual tournament are three-time 8-ball champion Efren Reyes of the Philippines, who is coming off his win in the San Miguel Asian 9-ball Tour stop in Jakarta on Sunday; 2001 World Pool champion Mika Immonen of Finland; 1998 World 9-ball champion Kunihiko Takahashi of Japan and two-time World 9-ball champion Chao Fong-Pang of Chinese Taipei.

They were not in action on Monday, however, as 116 players, including 12 women, took part in the stage 1 qualification round under a double elimination system to take one of the 15 places in the main draw.

Qualifiers on Monday included 2004 National Games (PON) 8-ball silver medalist and 2005 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games women's player Desak Raka of Bali.

She defeated Charlene Chai of Singapore and Indonesian national coach Mutiara by identical 7-3 scores to earn her place in the main draw.

Indonesian Billiards and Snooker Association (POBSI) chairman Putera Astaman said Indonesian players should make the most of their experience of playing in a major event.

"It is a rare chance to play against world-class billiard players, so don't waste the chance," he said.

On Tuesday, the losers from stage 1 will vie to fill the remaining 15 slots in the 96-player draw.

A total of 66 players -- consisting of 32 players competing in the four-leg San Miguel Asian 9-ball Tour, top 10 national players and two wild cards of Balinese players -- have automatically qualified for the main competition, which starts on Wednesday.

The main draw contests, like the qualifying, will involve a seven system -- with the first player to take seven racks the winner -- through the round of 64.

From the last 32 to semifinals, it will be the first to nine, and the final will be an 11-rack system.


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