Two More Through for Host Nation

With the qualifying competition drawing to a conclusion, the fourth day began well for the host nation as local man Chien-Chen Huang secured his place in the main draw of the 2004 Taiwan World Pool Championship.

Huang, 23, defeated dangerous Russian opponent Evgeny Stalev 9-4 in the final to take his place in Group 16 with American Jeremy Jones, Filipino legend Jose Parica and fellow countryman Po-Cheng Kuo.

Prior to this week, fifth place in the 2003 Taiwan National Championship was Huang's biggest 9-ball achievement, but he proved his credentials by defeating, amongst others, Dennis Orcollo on his way to success.

“This is my first time in an international tournament so I'm very pleased and I will try my best, he said.

“I hope to play Efren Reyes and my girlfriend will be there to support me all the time so I want to do well for her.”

One consolation for Stalev is that his appearance in the final elevates him to the top of the reserve list for the main draw.

The reserve list is composed of the players from the qualifying section in Taiwan with the best records – excepting those who have won an event and are therefore automatically through to the main draw.

Should any players fail to appear in Taiwan for their group stage matches, they will be replaced with players from the reserve list, now headed by the Russian.

Another local talent who will be making his World Pool Championship debut is 29 year-old Chun-yang Hsu who got the better of Filipino Gandy Valle to claim a spot in Group 8 alongside fellow countryman Chei-wei Fu, last year's finalist Alex Pagulayan and former European Champ Rico Diks.

For Hsu it was second time lucky after falling at the final hurdle against Rodolfo Luat in the second bracket on the opening day of qualifying.

The final score of 9 – 4 to Hsu was a fair reflection as Valle made too many schoolboy errors for a player of Hsu's calibre. A golden break in the penultimate rack took Hsua to the hill and a neat combination carried him over the line.

“I should be happy but I really should have won through on the opening day. Last year, I narrowly missed out on a trip to a local qualifier so I am really happy to be taking my place in the Championship.”

Play continues with the final two qualification tournaments.