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Cheung Ka-wai at the World Games in Birmingham, Alabama. Photo: Handout

World Games: Cheung Ka-wai reaches snooker final, hunts Hong Kong’s first gold ever

  • The 23-year-old Cheung overcomes Qatari opponent in straight games to book his place in the final
  • The Hongkonger will take on Abdelrahman Shahin of Egypt for his biggest achievement

Snooker player Cheung Ka-wai hopes to become the first ever World Games gold medallist for Hong Kong after reaching the men’s final in Birmingham, Alabama on Saturday.

Against Ali Alobaidli of Qatar in a tense semi-final, the 23-year-old reigning Hong Kong champion made it three games in a row with a score of 89-41, 56-48, 72-40 to book a place in the gold medal match against Abdelrahman Shahin of Egypt.

All matches are played in a short-lived best-of-five format, requesting the players to fire on all cylinders as soon as they get to the table.

Cheung Ka-wai collects his trophy and winner’s cheque after his victory at the 2021 Hong Kong Snooker Open Championship. Photo: Handout

“This was a crucial match as both players were under pressure to reach the final,” coach Alan Wong said. “Now Cheung has made it and relieved his burden. He is now more relaxed and hopefully he can resume his normal standard in the final which he has so far failed to prove.”

Against Shahin in the final, Wong said his charge has never met the Egyptian in any singles encounter before. “All we know is Shahin has been playing very well in the Games and his shots are very accurate,” he said.

Shahin is a member of the Egyptian team that won the 2020 to 2022 Arab Games and made it to the World Games as winner of the Africa qualification.

World Games: Hong Kong’s Cheung stays on track for snooker medal

Hong Kong has never won a gold medal at the World Games, the biggest sporting event outside the Olympic Games with the participation of non-Olympic programmes.

Former Hong Kong bodybuilding champion Brenda Lo Kit-ming clinched a silver medal in the women’s 52kg at the 2005 Games while tenpin bowler Wu Siu-hong also finished second in the men’s singles four years later.

At the last Games in Wroclaw, Poland in 2017, Joey Chan Ho-ling settled for a silver after losing in straight games in the final to world number three Camille Serme of France.

Hong Kong squash ace Joey Chan Ho-ling (left) with Camille Serme and Nicol David at the 2017 World Games in Wroclaw, Poland. Photo: Handout

Hong Kong has so far won three bronze medals in Birmingham, all from wushu and there will be another chance for a bronze in the women’s Muay Thai before the Games closes on Sunday (US time). Alex Tsang Ching-yee, who received a bye in the 57kg quarter-finals, lost in her semi-final to Tierra Brandt of the hosts by points 30-27 in three rounds.

The 30-year-old will now take on Patricia Axling of Sweden in the third place play off.

In orienteering, Hong Kong finished far behind in both the men’s and women’s middle distance. Lam Cho-yu and Leung Ka-ki came 28th and 29th respectively out of 32 women’s participants while Yu Tsz-wai and Li Chun-ho were 32nd and 34th out of 39 athletes in the men’s.