Bai Ge Crowned World Women Chinese 8-Ball Champion

Bai Ge

The first ever "China Billiard World Championship" (Chinese 8-Ball*) was held from 29 January 2015 in the beautiful YuShan City (JiangXi Province) of China.  A total prize money of RMB¥ 3 million (approximately US$480,000), out of which ¥600,000 was awarded to the Men's Champion, while ¥400,000 was awarded to its lady counterpart.  Although it might seem to be "odd cents" when comparing to most major snooker championships, the tournament is already head-to-head with the World 9-Ball Championship in terms of prize monies paid.
The tournament was hosted by the China Billiard Association (CBSA), and in a scale much larger than any snooker or pool tournaments.  Apart from regular Chinese 8-Ball players, many current snooker and pool professionals joined the scene, 23 countries, spanning all 5 continents, and over 300 renowned international players participated in the event.  Shaun Murphy, John Higgins, Neil Robertson, Thorsten Hohmann, Chris Melling and so on are just a few names to mention.  Almost all the top women players came to YuShan to compete for the honour.
In the Women's Division, world champions including Liu ShaSha, Han Yu, Kelly Fisher, Jasmin Ouschan, Allison Fisher, Kim Ga-Young, together with some other top class players are in the final round of Stage 2.  In the end, Bai Ge (白鸽), a player registered in Shanghai) claimed the championship by beating another seasoned Chinese 8-Ball player Zhang XiaoTong (张晓彤), walking away with a US$60,000+ first prize.  The final score was 17-13.

The direct translation of the name Bai Ge is "Pigeon", and the champion really spreaded her wings and won the tournament with flying colours.  She eliminated two world champions, Han Yu (韩雨) and Kelly Fisher, in the semi-finals and quarter-finals respectively.  Another world champion Liu ShaSha suffered from serious flu during the tournament and lost to Kelly Fisher in the last 16.  Zhang XiaoTong stormed into the final as strong as Bai Ge did, also took on two world champions (Allision Fisher and Fu XiaoFang) befoer meeting Bai Ge for a race to 17 final.

The two-session women's final was played one day before the men's last match.  In the first session, Bai Ge took the lead very soon and led by 7-3.  Zhang worked hard and fought back to close the margin at 9-7 before the session ended.
The final session started on the next day, Bai Ge again was dominating the games.  When the score was 15-11 in Bai Ge's favour, and when she sunk the 8, she literally jumped up and started celebrating.  Obviously she forgot that it was a race to 17.  "I was too emotional and thought I had won after sinking that black." said Bai Ge, "When I started celebrating, the crowd was dead quiet, then I realised that the match was not over yet.  After that I warned myself that I have to cool down immediately."

This is the first international event that Bai Ge had even won.  "My form was better than the day before!" said the Champion. "I did not feel any pressure and I was just trying to play my best.  I was physically tired in the first session and hence I was not playing too well.  My original target was to make it into the quarter-finals and that had already been acquired.  I got into form very quickly in the final session.  Whoever got into the final would like to win, and that was why I had that embarfassing 'early celebration' earlier on".
Bai Ge expressed her gratefulness to her parents who had supported her all the way.  The champion also made appreciation to the Shanghai Billiards Association and the PuDong Billiards Association, both councils have been taking care of her billiards career.

The Shanghai Billiards Association is planning to present a special "Non-Olympic Athlete Award" to Bai Ge.  Previously, Pan XiaoTing, Fu JianBao, Liu YuZhen and Chu BingJie had also received this honour.