‘Little Genius’ Comes Up Big in World Pool Championship Final


 Chia-Ching Wu

KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan, July 11 – From boy to man, in five racks.

Trailing 16-12 in the all-Taiwanese final of the World Pool Championship, and with his opponent breaking for the title, 16-year-old Chia-Ching Wu took a breath and told himself to hang on.

“Getting to the world championship final is such an honor, I was not going to give up that honor,” Wu said.

After 27-year-opponent Po-Cheng Kuo missed a tricky 2 ball, Wu reached the opportunity for honor ended up seizing glory. Finally getting in rhythm and taking advantage of his monster break, Wu ran out five consecutive racks to win the world 9-ball championship, 17-16.

Nicknamed “Little Genius,” Wu became the youngest male world 9-ball champion ever, but his even temper under pressure was amazing for a player of any age. After breaking at 16-16 and seeing a clear path to victory, Wu took the time to wipe down his cue and hands several times, and at one point even smiled, sat down and took a long swig from his water bottle, bringing laughter and applause from the crowd. Only after he had a chance to hug his grandmother during the trophy presentation did Wu start bawling like a baby.

“I proved to myself and to my grandmother that I could do it,” Wu said.

Wu’s 63-year-old grandmother, Chu-Chi Lin, encouraged Wu from the beginning of his interest in pool at age 6. And when he couldn’t stop crying at the presentation ceremony, she jumped out of the crowd to wipe his brow several times, arrange his collar and straighten the ribbon of his gold medal.

With his $75,000 grand prize, Wu planned on buying a new home for himself and his family. Kuo pocketed $35,000 for second place.

Kuo didn’t seem to think that the win would make much difference in his future, beyond having to behave himself better now that the public’s eye will be one him. In fact, he will receive invitations to several major international pool events over the next year, including World Pool Masters and the World Pool League event, both promoted by WPC producer Matchroom Sport.

For more details from the WPC final, check out the event’s Web site at www.worldpoolchampionship.com.