Monday, July 11, 2005

Taiwanese boy wins World 9-ball Championship

I am not a big sports fan by any means but when it comes to snooker I can stay glued to the TV for hours on end. As for pool, I tend to only watch when the really famous players like Earl Strickland are playing.

Last night was the final of the World 9-ball Championship. It was especially interesting this year as it was being held in Kaohsiung, the 'capital' of southern Taiwan, and the two finalists were Taiwanese. I caught the game at 11 games each and it was a very exciting game as both players edged towards 17 racks.

It seemed to be all over when Kuo reached 16. He only needed one more rack with Wu trailing by three (or was it four?), then - disaster - Kuo blundered a safety shot and the Taiwan Kid (!) came back to win the next four racks and win the title. Yeah!! He had some good breaks but also had to pull off some difficult shots to stay in the game.
In the final rack, three balls away from winning, he sat down to have a drink of water provoking a ripple of laughter in the audience. Then on the final nine, which was relatively easy, he asked for the rest! I don't blame him; he must have incredibly nervous.

I thought it was clever how the camera kept cutting to Wu's grandma and Kuo's girlfriend in the audience to gauge their reaction. I really thought Wu grandma was going to have a heart attack in the final rack. It was great too watching him run over to his grandma afterwards and having a good old cry. Awww! The Kaohsiung mayor even shed a tear. [Article and a couple of nice pictures here.]

One thing that did spoil the occasion a little was the lousy commentary. Steve Davis was okay but some of the others were unbelievably crass. One particularly asinine comment went something like: "He's only a boy, but if he wins here tonight he's going to be a giant among men." I'm not making this up.

So there we have it. The youngest World 9-ball Champion ever. Hooray for Taiwan!

Here's another article about Wu's victory.

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