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WPA Congratulates Albin Ouschan and Matchroom Multisport

Not so long ago we were not only wondering of when we would next have our 9-Ball World Championship, but there were even thoughts of whether it would ever be played again such were the times of pandemic.

Now we know the answer and with it, we also know who the new world champion is, now two-time winner, Albin Ouschan of Austria. We of course offer our congratulations to Albin, a popular and consistent performer, and also a great ambassador for our sport. 

Runner-up is Omar Al Shaheen of Kuwait, and it was terrific to see Omar do so well in such a major event. He has been showing great promise in recent years and his effort will be greatly appreciated by everyone, especially the enthusiasts in the Middle East.

The Championship was presented in great style by Matchroom who never fail to deliver, even in these difficult times. It is wonderful to have Matchroom back promoting our World 9-Ball Championship, now referred to as the World Pool Championship.

This is the beginning of a new era for the 9-Ball World Championship, having started not long after of the formation of the WPA, way back in 1990. USA’s Earl Strickland won the first event for the men, and Robin Bell USA won the women’s division. Remarkably, both these players successfully defended their titles by winning again in 1991.

Back in those days there were just three members of the WPA, Asia (APBU), Europe (EPBF) and North America (BCA). It was also the responsibility for the WPA members to organise and host the world championship. EPBF hosted the first event in two divisions, 64 men and 32 women. Prize money was $50,000 men and $25,000 women. This was the same for the second event when the BCA played host, and then onto the APBU for the third event which also debuted a division for junior players. Back to Europe for the fourth, America for the fifth etc., up until 1999 when Matchroom entered the scene and staged their first event, a men’s division World 9-Ball Championship, with legendary Filipino Efren Reyes winning the inaugural Matchroom event.  

In 2000 under Matchroom, the men’s division separated from the women and juniors and became a solo affair. The men’s Championship was played in the UK, the women and juniors, conducted together, in Quebec, Canada.

Matchroom moved the event to Cardiff, Wales, prize money grew to $400,000 and it was successfully staged there until going to Taiwan in 2005 when a 16-year-old Taiwanese Wu Chia-Chung (now Chinese Wu Jiaqing) was victorious. It moved to Manila for 2006 and 2007. However, with Matchroom unable to continue the event, it was not played again until 2010 after Qatar took up the responsibility to organise and host the World 9-Ball Championship where it remained until the conclusion of the 2019 event. 

Qatar held the rights for the Championship until 2020, but after talks with them during the 2019 event, they agreed to relinquish their Agreement to allow Matchroom to commence their endeavours with the event which was meant to start in 2020, but of course we all know what happened then.

While I understand there were some critics of Qatar hosting the Championship, I think that most people realised their efforts and the valuable contribution they made to our sport. They too are a sports organisation, not a promotions company. It should also be remembered that the WPA wasn’t knocking other people back who wanted to take over the event, until Matchroom made their interest known, there was no-one else.  Qatar made every effort they could to ensure the event was staged. Players were treated well, they were met and transported from the airport to their hotel, shuttle buses leaving regularly from the hotel to venue and return, and best of all for players, whatever money they earnt, they kept because there were no taxes payable, and importantly for players, they were paid immediately in cash.

It was also because of Qatar’s commitment that we have seen the standard of our sport lift in the Middle East. One player from there, Waleed Majid was ranked in the top 16 at one stage, and now we have a finalist in the world championship. We have had a tournament in Kuwait and there are prospects of another event being staged there as well as in Saudi Arabia. Not forgetting of course that the interest in pool for the middle east was started off in the Emirate of Fujairah of the UAE where our 8-Ball World Championship was organised for about ten years. This was followed by Qatar with a second middle east event, the Qatar Open which then developed into the World 9-Ball Championship.

Later this year we will have our men’s 10-Ball World Championship organised by Predator, as well they will organise the ladies 10-Ball World Championship. 

Moving forward, between Matchroom and Predator, 2022 will prove to be a busy year with the number of events they have planned between them, and then of course there are the others like the International 9-Ball Championship, the Kremlin Cup, and the US 14.1 Championship. Of course, with China closed to the outside world at present, we do not know what involvement they may play in the future, whether they continue with the China Open and women’s 9-ball World Championship.

As we now gaze into the future, the 9-Ball World Championship seems secure with Matchroom, and overall, the horizon is somewhat brighter now than it appeared even as late as three months ago. The remainder of this year is certainly going to be a busy one.

Chinese Taipei’s Pin-Yi Ko wins All Japan Championship for the second time; Akimi Kajitani takes Women’s title

Thorsten Hohmann, Pin Yi Ko, Jung Lin Chang and Johann Chua (Courtesy of Chinese Taipei Billiards)

Two years ago, Chinese Taipei’s Pin-Yi Ko was on a bit of a roll. It was his best (recorded) year, financially. He won the Guinness World Series of Pool in July that year, defeating Shane Van Boening in the finals. He went on in November to chalk up his first All Japan Championship, downing China’s Jia-Qing Wu (at one time, a high school classmate of his). The two victories represented 80% of his $87,500 (reported) year at the tables.

During the week of November 18-24, Ko joined 127 male competitors from around the world in the 45th Annual All Japan Championship, held in Archaic Hall in Amagasaki, Japan. Ko went  went undefeated to chalk up his second All Japan Championship, defeating fellow countryman Jung-Lin Chang in the finals.
In the Women’s Division finals, Japan’s Kajitani Akimi defeated fellow countrywoman Kawahara Chihiro to capture her first All Japan title. Unlike Ko in the Men’s event, though, Akimi had to come from the loss side of the 59-entrant field, during the double elimination portion of the event to win that title.
In the Men’s event, it took three winners’ side matches for competitors to reach the 64-entrant, single-elimination field and Ko did so with victories over Japan’s Norio Ogawa, Tachiki Toshinobu and Iwase Kengo. Among the international players entering the single elimination field from the winners’ side were John Morra and Rodney Morris. Dennis  Orcollo, Francisco Bustamante, Thorsten Hohmann, Efren Reyes, Carlo Biado, Mika Immonen, Alex Pagalayun, and Lee Van Corteza were among those who played a “one and done,” loss-side match to advance to the single-elimination final 64.
Ko downed Biado 11-9 to open his single elimination proceedings and then went on to defeat Singapore’s Aloysius Yapp and China’s Han Hao Xiang, to move among the final 16. Joining him were Hohmann, Lee Van Corteza (who’d eliminated Reyes), and The Iceman, Mika Immonen (who’d eliminated Morra). Along the way, Reyes had downed Orcollo, Japan’s Nishio Tasuka had finished Bustamante’s bid for a second All Japan title, and “The Lion” was dropped in the opening round by Korea’s Jeong Young Hwa.
In the final eight, Ko defeated Japan’s Kitatani Yoshihiro 11-8, Hohmann downed the Philippines’ Jeffrey Ignacio 11-3, Jung-Lin Chang ended Van Corteza’s bid 11-3 and The Iceman fell to the Philippines’ Johann Gonzales Chua 11-8.
It was Ko who eliminated Thorsten Hohmann 11-6 in one semifinal. Jung-Lin Chang defeated Chua, double hill, advancing to the finals against Ko. The two finalists battled to double hill, as well, before Ko completed his undefeated run to capture his second All Japan title.
In the Women’s event, Akimi overcame a short trip to the loss side in the double elimination phase, and defeated Japan’s Ebe Kaori (9-2) and Fujiwara Kazuko, double hill, to move among the final eight. The two semifinal matches pitted Chinese Taipei against Japan, as Akimi met up with Chieh-Yu Chou, and Kawahara (Japan) faced off against Pei-Chen Tsai.
Akimi defeated Chou 9-6, and was met in the finals by Chihiro, who eliminated Tsai 9-7. Akimi took the final match 9-7 over Chihiro to claim her first All Japan title.

The Marvelous Captain Marlon Manalo set to make comeback; eyes Qatar World 9-ball crown

Marlon Manalo

Veteran campaigner Marlon Manalo has all the opportunities to be the world’s best. 
But for now, he is determined to follow in the foot-steps of Filipino World Champions like Efren "Bata" Reyes (WPA World 9-ball and 8-ball champion), Ronato "Volcano" Alcano (WPA World 9-ball and 8-ball champion), Francisco "Django" Bustamante (WPA World 9-ball champion), Alex "The Lion" Pagulayan (WPA World 9-ball champion), Dennis "Robocop" Orcollo (WPA World 8-ball champion) and Rubilen "Bingkay" Amit (WPA Women's World 10-ball champion).
Manalo will make his return to the pool world after a long hiatus when he competes in this year’s World 9-Ball Championship beginning September 2 in Doha, Qatar.
"The World 9-ball tournament in Qatar will be a good test for me, that's why I prepared well for it," said Manalo, who is also known in pool circuit as "The Marvelous Captain."
“I still believe I can become a world champion,” added Manalo, a many-time winner in the US Pool Circuit and runner-up to Reyes in 2004 World 8-Ball Championship.
"If we're lucky enough in the World Pool Championship in United Arab Emirates and Kaoshiung, Taiwan, I'll win at least one title for us," added the Jose Rizal University (JRU) AB Economics graduate.
The affable cue artist and chairman of Barangay Malamig in Mandaluyong City captivated the billiard circuit by clustering victories against noted pool sharks Ching-shun Yang of Taiwan and countrymen Efren “Bata” Reyes and Francisco “Django” Bustamante in the knockout stage of the World Pool Championship in 2004.
The following year, the 2000 Asian Snooker Champion and 2008 National Champion Manalo went all the way to the semifinals of the same event before bowing to eventual champion Chia-ching Wu (Jia-Qing Wu).
Although he’s been away from big competition the past few years, Manalo kept himself in shape by practicing daily in his own pool hall in Talumpung, Mandaluyong and the famous Star Billiards Center in Grace Village, Quezon City, hosted by long-time sports patron Sebastian "Baste" Chua.
He is set to fly to Doha, Qatar on Saturday. 
At this point,  the  Brgy.  Malamig chairman from Mandaluyong City's quest for honor and glory received a needed shot in the arm from his long-time benefactors Mayor Benhur Abalos Jr.,  Rep.  Neptali "Boyet" Gonzales II and Solar Sports head Ronald Tieng.
The 2013 World 9-Ball Championship is sponsored by Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) and co-sponsors Simonis (cloth), organized by Qatar Billiards & Snooker Federation (QBSF) and sanctioned by World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) and Asian Pocket Billiard Union (APBU).

Shane Van Boening Claims US Open 8-Ball Title

Shane Van Boening

Shane Van Boening has won the US Open 8-Ball Title by defeating Carlo Biado 13-11 in the finals at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Van Boening arrived in the finals unscathed, never having been defeated on his trip through the charts.

Carlo Biado had been on a roll of his own, defeating two-time World Champion Jia-Qing Wu 8-6. but he ran into another hot hand in the form of Jayson Shaw and very quickly found himself nearly snowballed at 8-.1. The drama for Biado had only begun to unfold. His first opponent on the one-loss side was none other than his friend and respected elder player Francisco Bustamante. The two countrymen fought it out to a squeaker with Biado sliding through 8-7.

Biado then had to get past both Sean Cheng and Warren Kiamco to progress. He dispatched them both with the identical scores of 8-6. All of that work just to have to face the man who had sent him left again as he had to take on Jayson Shaw as Shaw had lost to Walter Cheng 8-2.

Shaw, who had so dominated the first meeting of the two, never had a chance to breathe. Biado got his revenge in style with an 8-2 thrashing. He then had to face Walter Cheng to see who would get the final shot at Shane Van Boening.

Many westerners are not familiar with Cheng. He is a former Taiwanese 9-Ball and 10-Ball National Champion. All week he had been making any ball he could see. As we had seen throughout the tournament the break would play a huge role in the outcome of the match. Successful break shots lead to run outs.

When Cheng broke dry in the fourth rack Biado turned on all the burners and soon led 3-1. Biado then broke and ran the next rack to lead by three at 4-1. Cheng scratched on the next break. Biado cashed again; 5-1.

But hope was not lost for Cheng. Biado was on his way out in rack seven when he blew his shape and gave up ball in hand to Cheng. Cheng took that rack and then broke and ran the next to bring us to 5-3 for Biado.

Biado won the next to get very close to the final at 6-3. But then momentum changed chairs. Cheng broke dry the next rack but Biado could not cash the run and Cheng got the point. After a trade of break and runouts the score stood at 7-5 for Biado.

Cheng had one last chance in rack 13. Biado broke dry. Cheng ran all the way down to the last ball before the 8 ball when he left himself hooked. He was done. When he failed in his shot attempt, Biado comfortably ran out for an 8-5 win and the right to go up against Van Boening.

The finals began as a slug-fest. Biado and Van Boening traded runouts until the score was at 2-2, but Van Boening broke Biado's serve in the next rack and then had a chance to stretch his lead as it was his break.  Even though he missed his second shot attempt, Biado failed to make him pay and played a conservative safe that failed. Van Boening ran down to the last ball before the 8 and missed. Biado got out but the out was ugly. He fought his speed control and still got out to tie the match at 3 apiece.

The match then saw the players trade break and runs an incredible 14 times in a row until the score lay at 10-10. It seemed that Biado was having an easier time at the table, but Van Boening was keeping right in step with him.

In rack 21, Biado was on a roll when he drew the cue ball into the side pocket. The scratch left Van Boening with an out and he cashed it. This left Van Boening only needing a break and run to earn his first major 8-Ball title. After making a ball on the break, Van Boening shocked the crowd by missing his first shot of the run and Biado ran out to tie things againat 11-11.

Rack 23 saw the pressure get to Biado again, as he ran to a tough shot in the side pocket, which he missed. Van Boening quickly ran out to take a 12-11 lead.

Rack 24 would be the final rack, as Van Boening crushed the rack and every ball had a pocket. He gave the crown one last bit of excitement when he overran shape on the 8-ball and was left with a shot similar to the one that Biado had missed a rack earlier. After sizing up the shot, Van Boening drained in like a hanger and Van Boening dropped to his knees with relief.

A tip of the AZB Hat to CSI for their production of the three main pro events. We will be bringing you news of all other CSI events in Las Vegas, including the BCAPL National Championships and the BEF National Championships, the WPA Artistic Pool World Championships and all other events as we receive results.


Pros Make 8-Ball Look Easy at CSI US Open in Vegas

John Morra is Kicking Butt and Taking Names

The top players at the US Open 8-Ball Championship make 8-Ball look like a kids game. If they make a ball on the break they run out and if they don't they sit and watch their opponents run out. Sure, sometimes the rack comes apart ugly and there is some strategy involved, but more times than not these fellows control the table with ease. They can shoot any ball in their suit and that makes it simple for them to rearrange clusters and nudge balls into position.

Those who control the cue ball with ease are always on the right side of the object ball to get to the next shot. They take care of any trouble on the table early and from there just clear the table. Perhaps more than any other game 8-Ball shows the chasm between the pros and their amateur counterparts. While the amateurs may visit the table two or three times each game the pros are usually only there once to get the job done.

It is the pros with effective breaks and often quiet confidence who are still alive on the winner's side. Today will provide some fantastic match-ups between the strong men of 8-Ball. World Champion Karl Boyes will take on Oscar Dominguez, Warren Kiamco will face Jin-Hu Dang while Sean Cheng will shoot against three-time World Junior Champion Ko Pin-Yi.

One match that could be very interesting is the one between Shane Van Boening and John Morra. Van Boening seems to be everyones favorite no matter what or whom he plays, but Morra will be ready to test him hard. Morra has already dispatched two former World Champions with ease, disposing of Daryl Peach 8-1 and Mika Immonen 8-4. To say he is playing well is the understatement of the week.

Other winner's matches include Ernesto Dominguez versus Jayson Shaw (Shaw a multi-time English Eight Ball {now known as Blackball} champion) and another World Champion, Jia-Qing Wu will face the hot hand of Carlo Biado. Walter Cheng takes on Chris Bartram and Mark Haddad will go up against Scott Frost.

There are also still 32 players alive on the one-loss side of the charts. Today will eliminate most of the field so there will be lots of drama to unfold.

You may watch the best action at and you may follow the live scoring and brackets on

‘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