MANILA, Philippines – A record-number 44 countries, represented by 128 of the best pool players in the world, will take part in the 2011 World 10-Ball Championship of the World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) at the World Trade Center in Pasay City next Tuesday.
Aside from the traditional pool powers Great Britain, Germany, the United States, China, Chinese-Taipei, and the Philippines, the WPA and the host country will welcome several countries for the first time into the competition.
Among the fresh contenders are Peru, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Norway, Uruguay, Croatia, Saudi Arabia, and Iran.
All 128 participants are either national champions, winners of regional and international tournaments, or reigning and former world champions.
Mika Immonen of Finland, who won the World 10-Ball title in 2009, is set to defend his crown. He is coming off a victory in the US 10-Ball Masters, which was held last March.
The formidable challengers in the competition include:
- Dennis Orcullo of the Philippines, winner of this year’s WPA World 8-ball Championship;
- Thorsten Hohmann of Germany, winner of the 2011 Philippine Open in April and former world champion;
- Antonio Lining of the Philippines, currently ranked world No. 1 in the WPA ranking system;
- Chang Jun-lin of Chinese Taipei, winner of the recently concluded Beijing Open, and Guinness series champion;
- Ralf Souquet, double wold champion in 8-Ball and 9-Ball;
- Darren Appleton, winner of the inaugural WTBC in Manila in 2008; and
- Wu Chia-ching, double world champion in 8-ball and 9-ball, who is returning to top-tier pool competition after a 2-year hiatus.
Entries in the WTBC come from all the continental federations of the the WPA system: The European Pocket Billiard Federation; the Asian Pocket Billiardzs Union; Confederacion Panamerica of Billairds; All Afruica Pool Association; and Oceania Pocket Billiard Association.
Prior to the main event, a series of qualifiers will be staged at the Star Billiards Center in Quezon City. Ten spots in the main draw are up for competition.
The WTBC qualifiers will start May 3 and will continue up to May 7, with 2 qualifiers staged per day. – Report by Marlon Bernardino