The 2011 IBSF World Billiards Championships got underway this morning in Carlow and the best proponents of the sport will now battle it out over the next four days for the 150up Points World Title. The opening ceremony last night saw the players welcomed to Carlow and many great friendships were renewed as the players met up at the opening ceremony diner and later in the hotel bar.
However this morning all will have only one thing on their mind, getting to 150 before the other guy!. This short format of the game may be new to the sport but like 20/20 in cricket many feel that it is the format that the sports top brass should be pushing.
So much so that the Indian players such as World greats Pankaj Advani and Geet Sethi are only competing in the points format and will be heading home come Sunday. It’s an unusual stance that two of the best players in the World have taken not to compete in the timed format but it’s certainly an admirable one as they feel they have to do it for the good of the sport that they love.
Anyway, never mind the politic’s of the sport, what is certain is that all the competitors are here in Carlow to try win the event and none more so than defending champion Mike Russell. The Englishman is considered by many to be one of the greatest players the game has ever seen and this time round is competing for Qatar in the event.
Mike took over as Qatar coach when our own PJ Nolan decided to come back to these shores and he now represents the Gulf Country in International Events. He wasted no time today also notching up three wins over Akhilesh Mohan, Bhaskar Balachandra and Ireland’s own Dara Martin with breaks of 136, 114, 107, 107, 101, 85, 81, 62, 54 along the way.
A couple of other players notched up two wins on the board today without losing a single frame including Russell’s next opponent Suriya Suwannasingh from Thailand and another ex-champion Rupesh Shah who had the highest break of the day finishing his highest run on 154 with two more century breaks for good measure.
The other tournament favourites such as Geet Sethi, Pankaj Advani, Peter Gilchrist, Devendra Joshi and Matthew Bolton are all still undefeated while India’s Alok Kumar lost out a close 3-2 match to Myanmar’s Kyaw Oo.
Ireland’s players suffered today against the experience of some of these players but we did have a good 3-2 victory for Aidan Murray over Niel Bolton and Phil Martin ended his days play with a 3-2 victory over Northern Ireland’s John McIntyre .
Our young brothers, Wayne and Ross Doyle will be learning greatly from their experience in this event and with 43 years in the difference young 15 year old Ross certainly gave Australia’s Jason Colebrook a run for his money in the last session eventually losing out 3-1. Ross also nearly notched up a century today missing on 94.
RIBSA would like to thank Vivek Pathak from CSI India and the IBSF for the photo’s that are now in our Photo Gallery. Our own correspondent Derek Kiely will be in attendance over the nest few days and we hope to bring you more news and photo’s from the event.
In the mean time why not pop down to Carlow if your near to view the event. The group stages continue tomorrow and the business end of the tournament will get underway Friday when your sure to see the sparks fly as the World’s best clash all aiming to get into the semi’s Saturday morning.
The final is set for Saturday afternoon.