Behind the Red Curtain – Xiaoting Pan

Xiaoting Pan
Behind the Red Curtain

Quietly and calmly, two-time Chinese Women's National 9-Ball Champion Xiaoting Pan is stealthily traveling across the United States with her cue case in one hand and her interpreter by her side. She has one purpose in mind, to qualify for the Women's Professional Billiard Association (WPBA).

She is so unobtrusive, little is known about her in the United States except to those who venture to compete around the Pacific Rim. At 24 years old and in her 8 years of playing pool she has amassed several titles and is currently ranked 4th with the World Pool-Billiard Association. That is no small feat considering the top ten include Allison Fisher, Ga-Young Kim and Karen Corr to name a few. That is heady company for a young woman from Shanghai who can currently walk in most pool rooms in the United States as an unknown.

She won her first two qualifying events, one each on the Spirit and Hunter Tours respectively. At the WPBA Carolina Women's Billiard Classic she made everyone who was not familiar with her accomplishments take notice when she beat her idol Allison Fisher 9-7.

While taking a breather during this weeks 2006 WPBA San Diego Classic, Pan had a few moments to talk about her adventure into US Women's pool and being the number one player from main land China.

She said that in China, pool has just recently taken off, mainly because of the accomplishments in the past year of her fellow countryman, Chia-Ching Wu, who has taken the men's side of the WPA by storm by winning both the World 9-Ball and 8-Ball Championships.

Until recently, Pan added, pool was not considered too highly in China but that is changing. Nine Ball is relatively unfamiliar with the small band of cuesport enthusiasts in China. Pan said that snooker is generally the game of choice in her native land. With the lighting speed that Pan is making a name for herself in the US, her global accomplishments and with her male counterpart's meteoric rise on the world pool scene, it appears that China is also starting to establish itself in the pool arena as well as the political and economic landscape.