Allison Fisher, Jasmin Ouschan, Fu Xiaofang, Kelly Fisher, Pan Xiaoting, Lui Sha Sha(Shenyang, China)–The center of the pool universe has landed in northeastern China this week, as the Chevrolet Cup 2011 Women’s World 9-ball Championship gets set to kick off in the ancient cultural city of Shenyang on Thursday.

This year’s field of the finest women pool professionals on the planet promises some extra special excitement as 25 different countries are being represented in the 64 player field, including all World Pool Association top ten ranked women.

The event begins Thursday, September 22 at 10am local time(GMT +8) and will take place at the Liaoning Hunnan Sports Training Base, a beautiful and modern multipurpose sports facility situated just on the outskirts of this city of seven million people. The players will be divided into eight groups of eight players each. Each group will play a double elimination format, race to 7 alternate break, with two players on the winners side and two on the losers side advancing to the round of 32. From there on the tournament will be a single elimination race to 9. $150,000 is up for grabs with $30,000 going to the winner on Sunday.

Defending champion and world number one Fu Xiaofang of China took center stage tonight at the lavish opening banquet inside the grand ballroom of the Sunrise International Hotel, but the diminutive 23 year old superstar is sure to have her plate full holding onto the title she won here last year with a nail biting 9-7 finals win over Hall of Famer Allison Fisher.

Fu’s sensational win in 2010 marked the second year running that a Chinese woman player has won the world 9-ball championship. In 2009, then 16 year old Lui Sha Sha shocked everyone by capturing the world championship in Shenyang despite being completely unknown outside of her own association.

The back to back world title wins in China by Chinese players has sent the sport of 9-ball through to the stratosphere in terms of popularity here. At today’s press conference organizers revealed that from the quarterfinals to the finals all matches will be televised nationally on China’s CCTV and they estimated the viewing audience will be close to 300 million people.

With these kinds of viewing numbers being thrown about it’s no wonder that all the players in attendance at the press conference today were salivating at the prospect of making their careers this week with a win. With the quality of talent on hand, though, it’s going to take something special to reach the top of the mountain in Shenyang. That kind of performance might be seen out of some of the other favorites here such as four time World 9-ball champion Fisher, current World 10-ball Champion Jasmin Ouschan of Austria, China’s 17 year old sensation and world number two Chen Siming, world number three Ga Young Kim of Korea, world number five Kelly Fisher of Great Britain, Chinese Taipei’s new star and world number 8 Chou Chei-Yu, or world number 9 Yu Ram Cha of Korea.

Brittany Bryant, Naomi Williams, Laetitia Dos Santos, Tamara Peters,Neena Praveen, Kamila Khodjaeva, Indira Gowda, Mayte Ropero visiting the Imperial Palace in ShenyangThis is the third straight year that the WPA Women’s World 9-ball Championship has been staged in Shenyang and the event has become a fabulous success. Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning Province, is the largest city in Northeast China. The bustling fast growing metropolis is the economic, cultural, transport and trading hub of northeastern China and provides a unique blend of the old and new, making it a perfect place to hold international sporting events. The city was founded 2300 years ago and is home to the perfectly preserved Imperial Palace of Shenyang, built in 1625 AD. The sprawling complex served as the initial royal palace of the Qing Dynasty before relocating to Beijing in 1644.

It is amidst this fascinating historical backdrop that 64 of the finest women pool players from around the world will be attempting to write their own history this week. The WPA will be providing full coverage of all the action at the 2011 Women’s World 9-ball Championship. Fans around the world can follow matches as they happen via our live scoring platform. The live scoring button can be seen on the front page of the WPA’s new and improved website, www.wpa-pool.com . There you can also see the brackets icon which will give you updated standings from each group and the knockout stage.

In addition, well known pool commentator and WPA press officer Ted Lerner is in Shenyang and will be providing insights and analysis with articles posted several times daily on the WPA home page. Lerner will also be manning the WPA’s Twitter page, providing fans with instant updates, insights and scores as they happen. The WPA’s Twitter user name is @poolwpa. You can go directly to our Twitter page at, http://twitter.com/poolwpa.

The 2011 Women’s World 9-ball Championship is being sponsored by Chevrolet Automakers. Star is the official pool table, while Andy is the official table cloth. The event is sanctioned by the WPA and the Chinese Billiard and Snooker Association.

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