‘Few thought she would make it to No 1’: Coach Wayne Griffiths not surprised at Ng On-yee’s rise to the top
Long-time mentor says the 27-year-old Hong Kong player’s sheer desire to improve helped her dethrone England’s Reanne Evans
Few experts thought Hong Kong’s Ng On-yee would ever reach the top when she was beaten by England’s dominant Reanne Evans at the 2011 world championships – except for Ng herself and a handful of close companions.
Wayne Griffiths, one of Ng’s coaches, said the 27-year-old’s sheer belief in herself and determination played a crucial role in the Hong Kong Sports Institute athlete replacing Evans at the top of the World Ladies Billiards and Snooker rankings this week.
“Reaching the top of the world rankings is another great milestone for On-yee,” said Griffiths. “Anyone fortunate enough to work with On-yee during her impressive career would not be surprised that her unfailing desire would eventually give her this opportunity to reach another one of the exacting goals she has set for herself.
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“To remove Reanne Evans from the top of the rankings, a place she has deservedly and comfortably made her own for more than a decade, is another great achievement, to add to a long list, for On-yee.
“In the world championships in England in 2011, when I first saw On-yee beaten by Reanne, it was clear that On-yee had a long way to go to catch her. Both in terms of clawing back ranking points and improving key skills, the journey to be the number one was never guaranteed, and would always be very difficult.”
Ng was guaranteed the No 1 spot after reaching the quarter-finals of the British Open in Stourbridge last week. She failed to win the tournament, losing 4-2 in the semi-finals to rising Thai star Nutcharut Wongharuthai – who went on to lose the final 4-0 to the still formidable Evans.
She first learned the game from her father, Ng Yam-shui, who runs a snooker parlour on Hong Kong Island.
Griffiths said that he and fellow coach Alan Wong would undertake gap analysis to identify areas in which Ng could improve. He said she was sometimes impatient to get better but worked hard to make the required improvements.
“Even though many thought Reanne could not be caught, On-yee always believed it was possible,” said Griffiths. “This belief, coupled with her work ethic and desire to improve, now sees her deservedly at the top of the world rankings.
“Many commentators have opinions on who is the best player in the world, but from my viewpoint, rankings do not lie – On-yee has achieved her goal of becoming the number one after seven years and she fully deserves it.
“She has been Asia’s first ever world champion and now is the first Asian to be number one. It is nothing less than her talent and dedication deserve and we are hopeful this will be a springboard to even more success in the future.”