World Championship format must go, says new title holder Ng On-yee
Hong Kong star returns to a hero’s welcome after lifting her second world title but says the competition format must change after leaving her completely drained following more than 12 hours of play
Hong Kong star Ng On-yee has criticised the playing format for the women’s World Championship, urging that it should be changed after being left completely drained in winning her second title in Singapore.
Returning to a hero’s welcome at Chek Lap Kok on Monday, the 26-year-old edged India’s Vidya Pillai 6-5 in the final, which ended at 1.30am local time. That meant Ng had to spend more than 12 hours at the table because she had to play her semi-final on the same day against top seed and defending champion Reanne Evans of England, which Ng won 5-4. With only a 30 minute break, she returned to the table to face Pillai, whom she beat for her second world title after lifting her maiden championship in 2015.
“It was such a long day [of competition] and of course I hope it [format] can be changed in future,” said Ng on her triumphant return. “In fact, I could not control my muscles midway through the final as I’d been playing for so many hours. It was more like playing mind games than playing snooker.
“I am very happy that I could hang in there to win the deciding frame for the title.”
The organisers had a rest day on Saturday, which meant both the semis and final were played on Sunday.
“I needed to find a spectator’s chair to take a small rest before the final. The whole thing was a big rush and of course it did affect the performance of both players. The rules must change,” she said.
Ng found herself 4-2 down in the final, but “I kept telling myself that if you believe in yourself, you can achieve it and I always believed in myself”.
Coach Alan Wong said the same system had been in use for years and had not changed partly because of the dominance of 11-time world champion Evans over the years.
“Evans has always been in a class of her own in the past and she usually wins both her semi-final and final very quickly,” said the coach. “That’s why they had the last two stages [of the competition] on the same day as they have done in the past.
“But women’s snooker has changed a lot recently with the emergence of many quality players such as On-yee and others. This makes the game more competitive. They must look into this format and make changes.”
Wong said Ng was a better player since she last lifted the trophy in 2015 and remained under pressure, which was why she won in the end. As Ng is the reigning women’s world champion, she goes straight through to the men’s World Championship qualifiers next year.
Wong also said Hong Kong might stage the world event next year with Singapore strongly backing the city.
“Singapore said we have produced many good players recently and there is no reason why we can’t stage a world championship in Hong Kong,” he said. “We will certainly pass the message on to the governing body for consideration.”
Hong Kong had five players in the Singapore tournament, with Katrina Wan also reaching the last eight before losing to Pillai.
Ng also agreed she enjoyed a lot of advantages playing the tournament in Asia this time and it could be better if they could move the event to Hong Kong.
“This is a good idea and concerned parties should consider it,” she said. “We held some big events in Hong Kong in the past and the world championship can be our next one.”
Ng will take a short break before competing in the World Women’s Championships of 6 reds, 10 reds and doubles in Leeds next month. She will also take part in the following Asian Championships in India.