Fu on cue for world snooker fame

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 May, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 May, 1999, 12:00am

When and why did you take up snooker? I learned to play snooker while studying in Canada. I tried it when I was nine and I have been a professional player since this season's championship tournaments.


I played snooker because of my dad. Snooker is his favourite sport; he always brought me to play snooker with his friends. So, I cultivated an interest in it.


What's your training schedule like? I'm now taking a short break and slowing down a little bit because the season will soon come to an end. When the new tournament schedule is released this August, I'll re-arrange my timetable. Probably I play two to three hours a day to prepare for a competition.


What is the most interesting part of snooker? It's a sport to train your concentration and composure. I quite enjoy playing snooker under pressure. When you defeat your opponents through your skills and composure, your satisfaction is untold.


What's your biggest achievement? Reaching the final of the British Grand Prix last year.


It was hectic but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was like a dream and I did not expect I could defeat one of the world's top players - Ronnie O'Sullivan - and enter the final. Before I started that tournament, nobody knew anything about me, so I wasn't under great pressure in the competition.


After the competition, I was surprised, but also a bit excited, to find my name splashed across the sports pages of English national newspapers.


Many reporters welcomed me at the airport when I arrived back in Hong Kong.


What is the secret of your success? I think I am very good at controlling my emotions during competition. I am not easily affected by my opponents or frustrated by failure.


My unflappable temperament helps my performance.


Which countries are strongest in snooker? England, Scotland and Ireland. Snooker is their national sport and these countries have many world-class players. My performance has proved that Hong Kong snooker players can be world-class players. We still need more chances to improve our skills and play against world- class players.


What are your plans? I'm playing my first season as a professional. I'm aiming at the top-16 and get ting into the World Champi onships next season.


Did you feel under pressure because of your early fame? Yes, I did. I did not feel easy at the beginning, but I've got used to it now and don't care about people's attention.


Luckily, I find people are very kind to me and they do not disturb my private life.


What did you do with the GBP32,000 (then HK$412,000) you won as runner-up in the British Grand Prix? I treasure my competition prize money, so I keep it all in my savings account.


Who is your role model? The world's top snooker player, Stephen Hendry. He's the best in the world. I also like Michael Jordan. His performance on the basketball court is brilliant. I don't think the others can do what he did in the sport.


Do you regret not spending your time studying? I don't think so. I love playing snooker and I'm proud of taking it as my career. That's why I promised myself I should be a success in snooker. I understand studying is important and I plan to further my studies in the future, but not now. I want to put my time and effort into snooker.


Did you always want to be a snooker player? I never thought of it. I just wanted to continue my studies; I did not dream of being a professional. If I had the chance again, I would still prefer playing snooker as my career.


You lived in Canada for years. What were the differences between living in Canada and in Hong Kong? I studied in Canada when I was young. Canada is a quiet place and you can be free from the pressure of examinations and schoolwork, which gave me time to play snooker. In Canada, playing snooker is a favourite pastime. During the holidays, parents usually take their children to play snooker with their friends.


What were your favourite subjects? Comparatively speaking, geography and physical education were my favourite subjects because my results in these two subjects were quite good.


What did you think of the popularity of snooker in Hong Kong? My result has somehow given a boost to its popularity in Hong Kong. However, the culture of playing snooker is still on the wane.


I don't know why there's a decline. I think people have many choices in sports or entertainment. To boost its popularity, I think the Government should lift the ban on younger people playing snooker in snooker halls. Overseas, people start to play the game at an early age. That's why they have better results in international tournaments.


Did you think it's unfair for the media to associate snooker centres with gangsters? Yes, I did. I admit some snooker centres might be filled with gangsters or members of triad societies, but not all. So, it's too subjective to conclude that snooker centres are a hotbed of crime. I don't come across such people in snooker centres.


What do you like to do after training? Dining out with my friends, singing karaoke, watching movies and listening to music.


How is your relationship with your family? Our relationship is very close. They support me to play snooker, especially my dad because we share a common interest.


I sometimes play snooker with my dad. He has played snooker for more than 20 years. He is my teacher and adviser in the sport.


Name: Marco Fu Ka-chun Age: 21 Birthday: January 8, 1978 Occupation: Snooker player

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