WPA Banquet Highlights 20 Years of Growth

Ian Anderson addresses the crowd

Ian Anderson, president of the World Pool-Billiard Association, had quite a surprise waiting for the members who attended the Governing Board and General Assembly meetings all week in Willingen, Germany while the World Junior Championships were being contested.

He had reserved an entire restaurant, the Gutshoff Itterbach, for a climatic banquet that celebrated the 20 years of growth and progress that the organization has made. Both he and Jorgen Sandman (former WPA president and current president of the WCBS (World Confederation of Billiard Sports, the umbrella organization for all cue sports) spoke of the past when WPA meetings were held in members homes and of the days before World Championships were held.

Indeed, Sandman spoke of the nervous days prior to the first World Nine Ball event in the early nineties when it appeared that only Europe and Japan would participate in the event. At the last minute Sandman took a call from then BCA president Jim Bakula who confirmed that American players would also be present. Two of those Americans, Robin Dodson (then Robin Bell) and Earl Strickland took home the titles.

The WPA now can boast of members on six continents and recognition by the International Olympic Committee, four yearly World Championships (Men, Women, Juniors and Eight Ball), and a uniform set of rules that govern the game worldwide. As a product of the meetings held this week the new rule set was adopted and will stand for the next five years when it will once again face peer review and the discipline of Ten Ball was awarded recognition with the prospect of a new World Ten Ball Tour and World Championship on the horizon.

The banquet was a fitting celebration of all the progress. The meal was preceded by cordials and then followed by five courses of five-star food that was finished off by champagne and fireworks put on in the backyard of the restaurant. The restaurant itself was a charming old-world room constructed of wooden beams and lit by firelight and candelabras. Members from throughout the world took the opportunity the evening presented to cement relationships and begin new plans with one another. Ian Anderson may have planned an evening designed to celebrate how far the WPA has come, but it ended as a springboard for where the organization is going in the future.