Chien Is First Home Town Qualifier

MING-WEI Chien became the first home player to win through the qualifiers as he confirmed his place in the main draw on Tuesday evening.

The 33 year-old from Taipei City defeated Ying-Chieh Chen in a dramatic final which owed more to luck than judgement.

Chen, just 19, had clawed his way back to 8-8 and looked set to run out and confirm his place in next week's 2004 Taiwan World Pool Championship.

But the action heated up when he deposited the 8-ball only to overrun the cue and leave it hanging in the jaws of a corner pocket.

However, he managed to make the pot and looked as if he had won only to see the cue ball travel the whole length of the table for an agonizing scratch.

Chien, a quarter-finalist in the 1997 World Championship, was understandably delighted with his stroke of fortune.

“I was very nervous at the end – especially when he nearly scratched on the 8-ball, he said.

“My girlfriend and son had come to watch me and I was very excited and happy for them when I saw the cue ball drop but it is a lucky way to win.

“I was confident because I practise a lot and I will do my best next week but I don't know how far I will get.

“I hope I get to play Efren Reyes because I have beaten him once and he has beaten me once.

“I'm very pleased that this tournament has come to Taiwan because many people here are pool crazy and I hope that it will encourage more young people to take up the game.”

Chien joins Group 14 where he will play the likes of Mosconi Cup star Marcus Chamat and Japan's Satoshi Kawabata.