Chinese 8 Ball - 2017 Joy Billiards World Chinese 8 Ball Masters
10th-15th January 2017 / Olympic Stadium, Qinhuangdao City, China
2017 JOY BILLIARDS WORLD CHINESE 8 BALL MASTERS
- THE BIG PREVIEW
The fifth annual Joy Billiards World Chinese 8 Ball Masters is set to be the most cosmopolitan and competitive edition yet.
64 players from 28 different countries spread across all six continents will travel to the North East Chinese city of Qinhuangdao aiming for a slice of the $110,000USD (approx just under £90,000) total prize fund.
2017's final line up has been determined after months of qualifying in the host nation and beyond, as well as a selection process by the tournament organisers for the chosen wildcards.
The history of this event has been dominated by two players. England's Gareth Potts, a four time World Champion in the English Pool discipline, won the inaugural championship in 2013 and then successfully defended it the following year.
Potts' streak was ended in 2015 when home cueist Yang Fan (pictured above) beat him in the Last 4 before then completing the job in the final. Yang proved it was no fluke by retaining the title in 2016.
However, as the popularity and profile of Chinese 8 Ball increases globally, the standard, and the potential possibility of a different champion has risen too.
Potts and Yang will indeed be back in their attempts to claim a hat-trick, but both will face fierce opposition from a number of multi-discipline Cuesports stars with significant career accolades.
5 times US Open 9 Ball Champion Shane Van Boening, recently signed up by Joy Billiards, has shown his commitment and dedication to Chinese 8 Ball by having a table installed at his home venue in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Van Boening's fellow countryman, Corey Deuel, will also be representing the USA after coming through a qualifier held in New Jersey at the back end of last year. The former Mosconi Cup winner is familiar to playing snooker (competed in Q-School and has been a national champion), and makes a return to China having appeared here 12 months ago.
In fact, a number of well known names from the international American Pool circuit will feature, but the highlight entry will surely be reigning WPA World 9 Ball Champion Albin Ouschan of Austria, who is fresh from becoming the Mosconi Cup MVP before Christmas.
It will be Ouschan's debut in this tournament, but he has history of success in the country after winning the prestigious China Open 9 Ball in 2015.
The world of English 8 Ball Pool will also be handsomely represented.
Reigning BI World Champion Liam Dunster (Scotland) will try his hand, whilst 2015 IPA World Champion Jack Whelan (England) - who has some previous Chinese 8 Ball experience, advanced as the UK qualifier. French small table legend Christophe Lambert has also been invited to make his debut.
India's Dharminder Singh Lilly has a wealth of experience in different formats; only a couple of months ago he became the IBSF World Seniors Snooker Champion in Qatar.
Of these 32 'Overseas' entries, 19 will be making their debut in the venue stages of this competition. Such is the expansion of this cuesport into new territories, qualification events were held in Argentina, Canada, England, Morocco, South Africa and the USA. To read up on some of these events, please visit our 'Professional Pool' column here.
The other half of the field is made up of players from the host nation.
Shi Hanqing, the reigning World Chinese 8 Ball Champion, will be looking to go one better than his runners-up place in 2014 and take his first Masters trophy. Shi is the only Chinese player to have featured in every edition.
The national ranked Number 1, Zheng Yubo, (beaten finalist in 2015 to Yang) is also likely to be one of the pre-tournament favourites.
Chinese 8 Ball is somewhat a hybrid of a number of different Cuesports rules and equipment. Around 80 million people play in China, with table manufacturer Joy Billiards having 3000 clubs in the country alone.
For more information on the sport, and how to buy equipment, please visit Joy Billiards' new English language website here.
The Cue View aim to keep you updated throughout the event. Please like our Facebook page, where we hope to post live stream links and scores.
Li Xiaopeng, Dong Yi, Shen Chongyang, Dai Yong, Wu Hao, Wang Peng, Li Hui, Yang Fan, Liu Yang
Xie Zhaohui, Liu Xin, Wan Tongle, Xi Hongyu, Zhang Guanghao, Xi Shouxin, Zhang Daowei, Zhao
Ruliang, Yin Hongxing, Wu Zhenyu, Xia Hongyan, Shi Hanqing, Wang Yun, Lu Xin, Fan Zhisong,
Zhang Kunpeng, Gong Haifeng, Chen Qiang, Li Bo, Zhao Yunbiao, Yu Ting, Zheng Yubo, Li Heng
AFRICA - Velly Diamond (South Africa), Richard Halliday (South Africa), Mohamed Essaid (Morocco)
ASIA - Dharminder Singh Lilly (India), Abdulrahman Alammar (Saudi Arabia), Jimmy Jusman (Indonesia), Jeffrey Ignacio (Philippines), Mohammadali Pordel (Iran), Ryojo Aoki (Japan), Hayato Hijikarta (Japan), Waleed Majid (Qatar), Phone Myint Khaw (Myanmar), Jeong Young-Hwa (Korea)
EUROPE - Gareth Potts (England), Jack Whelan (England), Liam Dunster (Scotland), Zak Shepherd (Wales), Denis Grabe (Estonia), Albin Ouschan (Austria), Marc Bijsterbosch (Netherlands), Andrey Seroshtan (Russia), Fabio Petroni (Italy), Christophe Lambert (France), Joao Silva (Portugal), Francisco Diaz Pizarro (Spain)
NORTH AMERICA - Shane Van Boening (USA), Corey Deuel (USA), Stephen Holem (Canada), Shannon Ducharme (Canada)
OCEANIA - Justin Campbell (Australia)
SOUTH AMERICA - Jorge Llanos (Argentina), Alejandro Carvajal Ossandon (Chile)
Written and published by Michael Day on the 3rd January 2017