World Pool Championship will return to Manila in October

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YEN MAKABENTA

First word
JUST as history was made last Sunday in Wimbledon, England, when Roger Federer won his eighth Wimbledon international tennis championship, history will be made on Sunday, October 22, 2017, when the men’s and women’s world pool champions are crowned in Manila, after two weeks of grueling competition.

For the first time, the men’s and women’s world pool championships will be staged together. And the Philippines will have the distinction of being the host.

For the first time, the men’s and women’s world pool championships will be staged together. And the Philippines will have the distinction of being the host.

With the private and public sectors joined together, the World Pool Championship (WPC), the premier international tournament of billiard sports, will officially return to Manila for two weeks in October, on October12-22, 2017.

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Highlights of 2017 world championship
The 2017 World Pool Championship (WPC) will be marked by the following highlights:

1. The 2017 championship will be bigger than the WPC first staged in Manila in November 2006.

2. This year’s tournament will feature together the men’s and women’s world championship, played during a two-week period.

3. Over 35 countries, represented by their best players, will be competing for the highly coveted prizes.

4. Ninety-six players will compete for the men’s world championship.

5. Forty-eight players will compete for the women’s world championship.

The tournament will feature 10-ball, the most challenging discipline in billiard sports.

WPA president to visit for official announcement
The World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA), the world’s governing body of billiard sports, will join the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), the Billiards and Snooker Congress of the Philippines (BSCP), Raya Corporation, and the Manila Times Publishing Company in staging the WPC in Manila.

Ian Anderson, the WPA president, will be visiting Manila on August 17 to 19, to officially announce the Philippine hosting of the world championship.

The finalization of arrangements, the processing of entries, and the negotiation of sponsorships and partnerships will follow after the announcement.

Four-year Philippine hosting
Based on the strategic plan for the WPC, the Philippines will host the tournament for four years, from 2017 up to 2021.

The WPC will form part of the celebration of the Philippine quincentennial, the 500th year of the circumnavigation of the world, which culminated in the European discovery of the Philippines by Ferdinand Magellan on March 16, 1521.

Discussions will soon commence for the Department of Tourism (DOT) to be again involved in the Philippine hosting of the WPC. The agency has been engaged in the undertaking since the time of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Two weeks in October 2017
The 2017 WPC will be staged at the Mall of Asia (MOA) for two weeks in October, with WPA officials in attendance.

The women‘s world championship will be held first for four days until a women’s world champion is proclaimed.

The men‘s world championship will follow for seven days of competition. The tournament will culminate on Sunday, October 22,when the men’s final will be held, and the men’s world champion will be proclaimed.

2006 World Pool Championship
The first Philippine hosting of the WPC was made possible through the support of then President Arroyo and the equally generous support of leading Filipino business leaders and corporations.

The 2006 WPC was held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) from November4 -12, 2006.

From a field of 128 players, representing over 40 countries, unranked Ronnie Alcano of Laguna, Philippines, emerged as the world champion, beating Ralf Souquet of Germany in the thrilling finals at the PICC, broadcast nationally and internationally by ESPN.

The event was historic also for another reason. For the first time, the WPC offered the prize of $100,000 to the winner, until then the biggest cash award in the championship.

The Philippines went on to host four more world championships, but beginning in 2010, following the election of Benigno Aquino 3rdto the presidency, the country declined to stage the tournament.

The leadership of both the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) illegally dislodged the BSCP as the national sports association (NSA) for billiards, by accrediting in its place a bogus association bearing also the initials (BSCP) as its name. The anomaly has been corrected by a court decision issued earlier this year BSCP is now in the process of recovering its official designation as the NSA for billiards. This is vital to its role in the Philippine hosting of the 2017 WPC.

Pool capital of the world
Following the successful staging of the 2006 world championship, the Philippines was unofficially labeled by players and international media alike as“the pool capital of the world”. This was mainly because the country became the staging ground of multiple international tournaments, including one held in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

In a cover story on the 2006 WPC, Billiards Digest, the premier international billiards magazine, called the Philippines “the epicenter of pool.”

WPA president Ian Anderson called Manila, “the pool Mecca of Asia.”

With the Philippines hosting of the 2017 WPC, there will be a signal opportunity for the country and for our national capital to recapture their position of preeminence in international billiards.

We will vie with China and Qatar for leadership in the sport. The two countries have been prominent in world pool eversince the Philippines stropped hosting the world championship in2011.

Magic of running out a table
As the sports official who negotiated the first Philippine hosting of the WPC in 2006 and then a yearly franchise for the country during an international conference in Germany, I will again be personally involved in the country’s hosting of the 2017 WPC.

I will do so as chairman of BSCP, and as chairman of Raya Corporation, the chief organizer of past world championships held in the country.

Raya has spearheaded the successful talks with WPA for the return of the world championship to Manila. It will again take the lead in organizing and staging the 2017 WPC.

The Manila Times will be a media partner of the tournament. Official announcements and details on the tournament will be made in this paper.

Discussions with a broadcast media partner, which will take charge of the broadcast of the WPC, will take place in the next two weeks.

Readers will wonder why I, a columnist, care so deeply about world pool. I will answer, because pool is my sport of choice; and pool is one sport where Filipinos, regardless of gender or age or income, naturally excel. I’ve played pool since I was a boy. I think there is nothing more magical than running out a table swarming with colored balls.

yenmakabenta@yahoo.com

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