Ng-On proves her mettle

Youngest champion... Ng-On Yee with the trophy after winning the IBSF World Snooker Championship.-G. KRISHNASWAMY

The victory is a tribute to the 19-year-old player from Hong Kong who combined youthful exuberance with class and was consistent right through the event, writes V. V. Subrahmanyam.

Ng-On Yee’s favourite player is Ronnie O’ Sullivan, the three-time world champion from England. The reason: the way he plans his game and his remarkable cueing. Well, this is exactly what Ng-On Yee did to defeat Kathy Parashis of Australia in the final of the ONGC-IBSF World Snooker Championship and become the youngest ladies’ world champion.

The victory is indeed a tribute to the 19-year-old player from Hong Kong who combined youthful exuberance with class and was consistent right through the event.

The tournament offered India’s experienced players such as Meenal Thakur (National champion), Vidya Pillay (five-time National champion) and former World billiards champions Chitra Magimairaj and Anuja Chandra the chance to break the jinx of no Indian woman getting past the quarterfinal stage of a world championship. However, the Indian challenge fizzled out very early in the tournament with only Chitra and Meenal Thakur making it to the quarterfinal before coming a cropper. Though Vidya Pillai achieved a rare feat of winning all five league matches for the second time in a world championship, she failed to rise to the occasion.

Kathy Parashis, 49, came up with a good performance to enter the final of a world championship for the first time. The 10-time Australian Open champion was also tipped to win the title given her remarkable fighting qualities. However, in the final against Ng-On, Kathy was a pale shadow of herself. Neither her potting was on target nor her safety play visible. In contrast, the young Ng-On showed what scoring was all about — not just with her high quality long-potting but wonderful safety-play as well.

Even the unscheduled and surprising 35-minute break, when the organisers decided to conduct dope tests for the players, did not upset Ng-On’s rhythm.

“I dedicate this to my country,” said Ng-On, the first ladies’ world snooker champion from Hong Kong.

Even in her moment of triumph, Ng-On was modest. “I think I got lucky breaks. I still believe that Kathy was capable of playing a much better game and it could have been a closer final,” she said.

The Australian was visibly disappointed on missing a date with history. “I don’t know what happened, but nothing went right for me. Her safety-play was awesome,” said Kathy.

THE RESULTS

Final: Ng-On Yee (Hong Kong) beat Kathy Parashis (Australia) 57-22, 50-55, 52-44, 63-42, 83-20, 65-34.

Semifinals: Ng-On Yee beat Ramona Belmont (NZ) 54-28, 61-20, 27-70, 5-51, 23-70, 70-17, 62-8; Kathy Parashis beat Bi Zhuqing (China) 41-9, 40-61, 58-29, 24-45, 33-57, 52-36, 64-31.

3rd place: Bi Zhuqing bt Ramona Belmont 33-65, 44-36, 62-54, 46-59, 48-41.