Youth Snooker - 2017 IBSF World Under 16 Championships
2nd-8th October 2017 / Playpool (Centre for Billiard Sports), Saint Petersburg, Russia.
YOUNGSTERS HEAD TO RUSSIA
Two new World Championship categories have been added to the IBSF's portfolio of events and they'll be played out this week in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
The inaugural World Under 16 Boys and Girls Championships will initially be played in Round Robins with those qualifying going into the straight Knock-Out section. Players as young as 8 and 9 are set to compete.
In the Boys event there are over 50 entries, but although there are representatives of countries such as Hong Kong, India, Iran and Japan (amongst others), over half the starting entry is from the host nation.
There are no players from England, Scotland or Ireland, nor from established overseas snooker nations such as Thailand, China, Australia, Germany or Belgium.
In fact there is only one UK based player making the trip east, that being Wales' Tyler Rees who looks a strong favourite to claim the title.
The Girls event features 20 players - 11 of them being from Russia.
Another age category World Championship is obviously great, but not having some of snooker's major nations involved in it is a pity. I'm not sure why so few players have taken part - obviously these trips do cost a lot of time and money, plus the World Under 18 and 21 Championships only took place in China a few months ago.
With the recent 'divorce' between the WPBSA and the IBSF, it will be interesting to see if numbers are affected in future IBSF tournaments. Certain amateurs with professional ambitions may use funds elsewhere.
Despite this, congratulations must go to the Federation of Billiards Sports of Russia (FBSR) for organising the event. It is prosperous to see emerging snooker countries hosting international competitions.
For more information, and to keep up to date with the results throughout the week, please visit the International Billiards and Snooker Federation's tournament page here.
Written and published by Michael Day on the 2nd October 2017