After a bit of an arduous journey, the Womens International 10 ball Championships is set to get underway on Tuesday at Steinway Billiard in Queens, New York. Only 3 weeks ago the event looked to be in jeopardy as issues with the promotion of the event as an unsanctioned world championships were taken very seriously by the WPA. At one point the world association announced serious reprimands for any player choosing to compete in the event. Amends were made and thankfully they have achieved their goal of a full field of 64 women from Canada, the United Sates and a few international players.
It must be noted that although the field is full, the strength of the field has not met the expectations of the original promotion. The only notable overseas players in attendance will be Jennifer Chen and Ga young Kim. Controversy surrounding the event and a total prize fund of $40 000 has played a factor in the international attendance. Suprisingly though is the absence of top women that are based in North America such as Kelly Fisher, Allison Fisher, Karen Corr and Jasmin Ouschan who regularly make the trek overseas to compete. Without specific knowledge of the reason for their absence, the choice to not participate in an event so close to home on American suggests to me that they have chosen to sit out in a form of protest. Whether it is the prize fund or the unorthodox promotion of the event I can’t say for sure, but their absence should definitely be noted.
On the bright side we are set for a great week of womens pool in New York. American women have rallied behind this event. Qualifiers have been run across the country and they have produced the best women from all parts of the U.S. Canada will also be in the mix with multiple times Canadian Champions Naomi Williams and Brittany Bryant in attendance. Denise Belanger, Maureen Seto, Veronique Menard, Corinne Johnson will also carry the hopes for the north of the border players.
The format of the tournament is quite commendable, it is something that I believe should be a model for all major pro events. The 64 women will be divided into groups of 8 playing in a round robin format race to 7 against each player in their group. This is something the IPT did and I feel this is the best way to get a real deserving champion. Losing a match hill-hill in this format is not as devastating as a double knockout style tournament, as you can lose probably 2 or 3 matches overall and still advance to the next stage. This week in the preliminary stages 4 players out of the 8 players in each group will advance to the final 32 single knockout stage of the tournament.
With the absence of most of the top names in the sport it will be a chance for many of the top North American women to show what they are made of. Live streaming will be available at www.dragonpromotions.com, the charge will be a reasonable $50 for the entire event and $10 for a daily pass. Stay tuned to www.cuesportnation.com for daily results from the event.