AS THE 25th World 9-Ball Pool Championship reaches it business end at the Al Arabi Sports Club, much of the talk is about the sport’s unpredictable nature and the way it produces quick results.
Time and again, the tournament has produced different champions and not a single player has been able to defend the title since legendary American Earl Strickland won it in the first two editions (1990 and 1991).
The country has embraced the pool culture fast and this is for the seventh year in a row that the Qatar Billiards and Snooker Federation (QBSF) is hosting the World Pool Billiards Association-sanctioned championship.
Eight Qatari players are seeded directly into the main draw, with ace cueist Ali Al Obaidly being one of them. He feels youngsters are getting more attracted to 9-Ball Pool, thanks to the quick results.
“The popularity of 9-Ball is rising in Qatar ever since the QBSF started hosting this championship in 2010. Compared to other form of cue sports like snooker and billiards, more upcoming players prefer pool. They see more potential to create upsets in it than in the other two formats,” said Ali.
He is adept at pool as well as snooker and has won the country many laurels in both formats.
“In snooker, you can create upsets only once in a while, but pool is an open field. That’s why you find more youngsters attracted to this format. In pool, you can take advantage of your opponent’s one mistake and carry on from there. In snooker, there’s always a comeback chance. In pool, the margin of error is very limited,” added Ali.
Whoever is crowned the king of the blue baize on Thursday would just remember that!