Youth Snooker - 2017 Asian Under 21's Snooker Championship
8th-14th April 2017 / Hyatt Regency, Chandigarh, India
YUAN WINS CONTINENTAL YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP
16 year old Yuan Sijun of China beat compatriot Fan Zhengyi 6-2 in the final to become the 2017 Asian Under 21's Snooker Champion, thus securing himself a guaranteed two-year professional tour card in the process.
Yuan will be no stranger to players or fans on the full time circuit next season should he accept his place. As a wildcard, he was present for a number of professional events in China in recent years where he has remarkably beaten Martin Gould 5-0 on two separate occasions. Top tier players Andrew Higginson and Ian Burns have also lost to him.
Under the umbrella of the Asian Confederation of Billiards Sports (ACBS), this was the 18th edition of the competition. The honours list features a number of familiar names from the current pro ranks, and was won by Ding Junhui in 2002.
Entries from China, Thailand, Iran, Myanmar, Philippines, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Kyrgyzstan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Japan and host nation India started out the tournament. Players were initially divided into 8 Round Robin Groups where the top 2 from each qualified to the Last 16 Knockouts.
Yuan finished top of Group D and then beat Yun Fung Tam (Hong Kong) 4-0, Haris Tahir (Pakistan) 5-4 and Pongsak Chongjairak (Thailand) 5-2 in the Last 16, Quarters and Semi-Finals respectively.
His opponent Fan was unbeaten throughout on route to the final, dropping just a total of 7 frames in 6 matches.
Victory for Yuan made up for his defeat in the 2015 final to Akani Songsermsawad. He becomes the seventh different player from China to lift the trophy in the last 11 years.
Overall it was a fine tournament for China; all 4 of their representatives made the Last 8.
Current WLBS World Champion Ng On Yee added yet another success to her CV with victory in the inaugural Women's Championship, whilst Indian home hero Pankaj Advani secured the Billiards title.
Written and published by Michael Day on the 14th April 2017