Let The Games Begin!
by Mike Panozzo Jul 13, 2002, 9:38 PM EST
The 2002 Hasseroder World Pool Championship got underway Saturday at the Cardiff International Arena in the Welsh capital, with 128 players from more than 40 countries jockeying for position in the group stage. Defending champion Mika Immonen of Finland started off on the right foot in Group 1, defeating Taiwan's Young-Hwa Jeong, 5-2, in his only match of the opening day.
The field is divided into 16 groups of eight, with the top four finishers in the round-robin race-to-five format advancing to the single-elimination final 64.
The $300,000 tournament, produced by Matchroom Sports, will award $65,000 to its champion.
For additional insight, check out Welsh sportswriter Gary Baker's daily reports, "Cardiff Insider" in Tournament Notes.
Tournament NotesCARDIFF INSIDER
by Gary Baker
* AS THE opening matches commenced, John Wims, a 26-year-old Irish civil engineer, set the World Nine-Ball Championships alight in Cardiff within the first few hours of the tournament starting.
Wims, who is an amateur player with no professional experience, is just a few racks away from going through to the knockout stages of the event already after stunning American legend Shannon Daulton and hammering Panama's Javier Palacios in his opening two matches to top his group.
Daulton, who has been a five times member of the USA's Mosconi Cup team and also the 2001 World All-Round Champion, was beaten in the final rack of the race to nine match by Wims before the Irishman hammered Palacios, a former national champion of his country, 5-1.
And 1998 world champion Kunihiko Takahashi was also involved in an early shock result when he lost 5-2 in the same group as Wims and Daulton to England's Daryl Peach.
* JEREMY JONES, quarter-finalist at last year's World Championships, was the subject of an amazing upset on Saturday in Cardiff.
The 31-year-old American and runner-up in the 1999 US Open was thrashed by a little-known Irishman who lives in England.
Tommy Donlon, who, although he has been a professional player for 16 years has not made much of an impression on the world, had to qualify for the event.
But he went out and thrashed Jones by an astonishing 5-0. Donlon said: "Everything just went for me and I don't think Jeremy played that well. It is only one loss for him so you cannot write him off but it is still probably the biggest win I have ever had."
* EARL STRICKLAND has had another bit of a go at the outside tables at Cardiff International Arena after his first match of the tournament.
The Pearl was a 5-1 winner over Ditto Acosta of Aruba up in the sky on a steel structure used to house the tables outside the main TV arena.
But Strickland, who compained that the scaffolding was moving two years ago, said it was happening again - although not so much this time.
He said: "I wish all the players would move quietly around the tables. The balls are moving by a tiny fraction because of people walking around. The referees are going gingerly but the players might have a bad shot and bang their cues down and then the balls on the other tables move.
"I think I'll be better when I get onto the main table," added Strickland.