ROAD TO 8-BALL GLORY BEGINS
By Ted Lerner
(Fujairah, United Arab Emirates)—The race to 8-Ball glory got underway early Monday morning here in the coastal emirate of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates, with 96 players from over 40 countries vying for the 2012 WPA World 8-ball Championship.
Defending champion, current World #1 and 2011 WPA Player of the Year, Dennis Orcullo of the Philippines is back to try for a very possible repeat. Orcullo won his first world title last year in Fujairah when he beat Niels Feijen in the final 10-3. Orcullo used that amazing victory as a springboard for a sensational all around year in 2011 and has come to the Middle East brimming with confidence.
But while Orcullo certainly comes into this year’s championship as one of the heavy favorites, the famously wide open game of 8-ball means that there’s probably 20 or more players who can be considered serious contenders for the Filpino great’s crown. Among those are World 9-ball champion and world number 2 Yukio Akagariyama of Japan, current and back to back US Open Champion Darren Appleton(world #3) of the UK, World 10-ball Champion Huidji See(World # 5) of the Netherlands, back to back runner up Feijen, the Philippine great and World # 6 Lee Van Corteza, Chinese Taipei’s Chang Jung Lin(# 7), China Open winner Chris Melling(# 8) of the UK, German greats Souquet(#11) and Thorsten Hohmann(13), Finnish star Mika Immonen(19), former World 9-ball champion Daryl Peach of England. And current European number 2 Mark Gray, who has won three tournaments in the last few months.
The tournament is being held inside the beautiful Fujairah Tennis and Country Club where seven tough Knight Shot tables have been set up inside the cozy confines of the sports hall. A total of $156,000 in prize money is on offer, with $20,000 going to the winner on Friday night.
This is only the eighth time that the World 8-Ball championship has been contested and all of them have been held in Fujairah. The conditions this year have already gotten the nod of approval from players as each match throughout the event will be played with the alternate break format, ensuring fewer one sided blowouts than in previous years.
The higher caliber players were also happy with the extremely tight pockets which have been set at just 4 inches in diameter.
Most of the top players in the field will begin to see action in the evening session of Day 1 and morning sessions on Day 2. The players have been divided into 16 groups of 6 each, playing a double elimination format. The top 32 players have been seeded and have received byes for their first matches. This means that each of the top 32 players only has to win one match to move into the knockout stage of 64, which begins on Wednesday.
In early action on Monday Radislaw Babica, Thomasz Kaplan and Karol Skowerski made it 3-0 for Poland with easy wins. The Philippines Demosthenes Pulpul, who for the last year has lived and worked as a house pro in the UAE, and won entry to this year’s championship via a local qualifier, easily defeated Belgium’s Bahram Lofty, 7-2. Pulpul’s countryman Elvis Calasang stayed on the winners side with a win. Germany’s young rising star Dominic Jentsch easily won his first match. As did Austria’s Serge Das and Russia’s Konstantin Stepanov.
The WPA will be providing up to the minute coverage of all the happenings on its website, www.wpa-pool.com, including live scoring of all matches, in depth articles on the goings on posted several times a day, as well as blow by blow coverage of big matches via the WPA’s Twitter page, @poolwpa.
For updated brackets, CLICK HERE
For live scoring, CLICK HERE
*The World Pool and Billiard Association(WPA) is the world governing body of the sport of pool. The WPA is also the member organization for pool of the World Confederation of Billiard Sports (WCBS), the international umbrella organization encompassing all the major cue sports.
Early results from Day 1
Masser Al Mujaibel(KUW) 7 – 3 Kenny Kwok (HKG)
Karol Skowerski(POL) 7-0 Mohammed El Assal(EGY)
Tomasz Kaplan(POL) 7 – 2 Salah Al Awadi(UAE)
Salah Al-Rimawi(UAE) 7 – 4 Mohammed Alhosani(UAE)
Vilmos Foldes(HUN) 7 –6 Stuart Lawler(AUS)
Imran Majid(GBR) 7 – 1 Ali Saeed(UAE)
Mohammed Ali(IRI) 7 – 3 Elmer Haya(PHI)
Yousfi Chaouki (MAR ) 7 – 3 Ahmad Jallad(JOR)
Dominic Jentsch(GER) 7 – 3 Abdulla Juma(UAE)
Konstantin Stepanov 7(RUS) – 0 Pil Hyun Cho(KOR)
Hanni Al-Howri(UAE) 7 – 3 Sayeem Hossaien(BAN)
Elvis Calasang 7(PHI) – 5 Jason Shaw(GBR)
Majid Sultan 7(UAE) – 4 Lian Han Toh(SIN)
Serge Das 7(AUT) – 2 Omer Al Serkal(UAE)
Radislaw Babica(POL) 7 –2 Saleh Mohamed(KUW)
Meshaal Turki Al Ali(QAT) 7 – 6 Saleh Ibrahim Ali(UAE)
Lee Chen Man((HKG) 7 – 3 Abdulatef Fawal(QAT)
Noor Al Jarrah(JOR) 7 – 0 Mohammad Khaled Soufi(SYR)
Mario He(AUT) 7 – 0 Albin Ouschan(AUT)
Demosthenes Pulpul(PHI) 7 – 2 Bahram Lofty(BEL)
Jalal Yousef(VEN) 7 – 3 Shaker Wahdan(JOR)