April 7, 2010

The Future's Bright. The Future's in China.

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:05 am

Ding has been playing with his little car since Sunday

Yesterdays ‘China Daily’ newspaper is full of wild predictions of a mass upheaval and migration of all things snooker related to the Peoples Republic.

After the undoubted success of the China Open they are lining up ‘experts’ to tell us all that if the game has a future, it’s there.

The first piece of evidence that the Chinese media use for this being just a matter of time comes from an example of the manic behaviour of one of their 1 zillion or so inhabitants Duan Lian, a snooker fan from Northeast China’s Heilongjiang province, who spent twice his monthly salary to cover the expense of air tickets, entrance fees, hotels and restaurant bills to watch the tournament in the capital.

I think he might be related to Si-Ting Chi-Lee who did something quite similar with my money. If Duan Lian is reading this, get in touch, I’m looking for a new correspondent for Shanghai and you sound just the ticket.

Not exactly compelling evidence though, I once got on a National Express coach in the luggage compartment disguised as a suitcase and slept in a box in Sheffield eating nothing but discarded cold kebab meat  so as I could afford to watch Barry Pinches and I never went to the papers, though the trial was covered locally but I needed the money to get home, and he lost aswell.

They wouldn't even let Mark practice

Then Ding’s boss wades in, Zhang Meng, the agent of Ding Junhui, Xia Haifeng, general manager of Beijing Inter Sports and Hong Kong’s ‘veteran player’ Marco Fu (veteran is a bit unkind to the fresh faced robot) all see the huge market potentials in China. So no vested interest there then.

The newspaper goes on to report that the number of reporters covering the China Open doubled to the highest level of previous competitions like the World Championship. The profile of the players is also on the rise with many apparently receiving the attention of superstars.

Even Mark King got to walk on the red carpet before they spotted him and stuck a hoover in his hand and told him to get cracking.

Then we come to deadpan Stephen Hendry Chinese lookalike, Liu Chaung who, to the background of slow military style music and deep death knell bells says clinically “It is dying in the West”. No elaboration from the man of many words there.

I suppose I’m still smarting from the expense claim from my ill-informed choice of correspondent to cover Beijing when there appears to have been plenty of other options open to me.

But I haven’t yet quite given up hope on our great game making a resurgence in Blighty and to ignore the huge potential of Europe would be a big mistake. Barry seems to have spotted this, something his predecessor either didn’t or just wasn’t bothered to explore.

Chuang - Gift of the Gab

Anyway despite my dealings with Mr Lee, I loved the China Open and its strange nuances, but would stop short of sending all of them over there on a one way ticket. For a start I’d have nobody to clean my carpets if that happened.

To the faithful follower(s), I am working on my comprehensive World Championship preview and this is yet another way to distract myself from committing to what I think is a wide open tournament this year. I’m changing my mind more times than that well-known golfer would in a house of ill-repute to be honest.

Maybe I’ll call Liu Chaung and ask his opinion, shouldn’t cost me too much in phone bills at least.

To watch the post match interview with recent China Open winner Mark Williams click here , judging by the look on his face at times here I think our man Si-Ting might have been doing some of the translation. To see the awards ceremony again including Tian Pengfei’s award for ‘most dubious winner’ and Ding getting his new toy car click here

Also, there is a new Caption Competition on the right hand menu for the creative amongst you.

Right, back to that preview…………..

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