Lion upset in WPC Group Stages

Defending Champion Alex Pagulayan

128 players representing 42 countries gathered this morning at 10.00am local time as the 2005 Kaohsiung World Pool Championship commenced in the southern Taiwanese port city.

There is a total of $350,000 on offer with $75,000 going to the eventual winner and the stakes are high. It was defending champion Alex Pagulayan who carried the magnificent trophy into the arena at the opening ceremony performed by the Mayor of Kaohsiung.

As a traditional Chinese dancing lion pranced around the table, the Mayor opened the championships and it was Pagulyan who squared off against Holland's Rico Diks in the first game of the tournament.

Pagulayan roared into an early 4-1 lead and in the race-to-five alternative break format that looked to be enough. But London-based Diks, the best placed player from Holland in last year's event, fought back to claim the Group 1 points on the deciding rack.

The group stages occupy the first four days of play as the players are divided into 16 groups of eight players and play each other once to form an order of merit. The top four advance into the last 64 straight knock out play which begins on Tuesday.

The 2005 Kaohsiung World Pool Championship is broadcast across Asia on the ESPN Star network and also goes out live in the UK on Sky Sports.