Yushan: Small Chinese county hosts international billiards event

Updated: 2015-03-20 07:52

By Chen Yingqun and Hu Kaiyong in Yushan(China Daily)

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Yushan: Small Chinese county hosts international billiards event

Zheng Xiaochun, party secretary of Yushan county. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Zheng says his impression of snooker is one of an English gentlemen playing casually in the club, wearing elegant clothes. He says American pool is what cowboys play in bars. Chinese billiards did not have competition regulations until 2014. So when Chinese billiards had the chance to become a world championship sport, Yushan fought hard for this chance to be the host.

"I said to them, China's billiards is widely played in the countryside. In big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, you have so many sports events every day that people won't pay much attention. In the countryside, your event will get all the attention and all the support from the local government. It would be very inspiring for people here," he says.

However, for a small county, hosting an international event like this is not easy.

"We don't have the same facilities as big cities," Zheng says. "February is the coldest time in the south of China, and transportation is not very convenient, as the closest airport is two hours away."

Moreover, prior to the world championship, Yushan lacked the experience of hosting such a big event.

Zheng says that Yushan is fortunate to be called "talent village", so when he and his colleagues were looking for English-speaking people to translate for foreign players, they got more than 600 applicants. All hotels in the county also made changes to cater to the event, making sure spectators and players had little complain about accommodations and food.

"Players from all over the world speak different languages, have different cultural and specific needs, including food and entertainment. We had to prepare all the details for that, which was very complicated and challenging for us," he says.

Mark Williams, a Welsh snooker player, told the local media that Chinese billiards could probably be more influential than snooker in the future.

He said whenever he went into a billiards club, he would see many Chinese billiards tables, but only one or two snooker tables. He has seen many snooker players participate in the event and believes that will also help boost Chinese audiences' interest in the sport.

Zheng says that his aim is to combine the development of the Chinese billiards center with local people's passion for the sport, and he wants billiards to be a more common part of public life.

"We want to make Yushan a famous place for Chinese billiards, whenever people think of Yushan, they will think of Chinese billiards, and the other way around," he says.

Zheng says that for the next four years, the event will be held in Yushan, and that the size of the event will grow and attract more world players.

Yushan, which is famous for its rural scenery, would combine its sports industry development with tourism, such as holding a major swimming event in Sanqing Lake this year. The eastern China county has also built a 22-kilometer track for cycling.

"Along this track, there will be on one side the big river, and on the other side mountains."

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