Scotland Wales Northern Ireland

You are in: Other Sports: Snooker: World Champs 2002  
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Around The Uk

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC News

BBC Weather

  Sunday, 5 May, 2002, 15:11 GMT 16:11 UK
Take snooker to the world
Quinten Hann
Hann is one of the few non-British players to succeed
BBC Sport's Clive Everton believes that for snooker to gain more popularity it needs to spread its wings.

Quinten Hann, Australia's talented if unpredicatable number one was the only player outisde the British Isles to survive the first week of the World Snooker Championship.

He has already done well enough this season to earn a place in the top 16 in the end of season rankings - the first Australian to do so since Eddie Charlton 16 years ago.

In the previous five seasons he has risen from 237th to 104th to 45th then to 26th and back to 32nd.

All this despite missing six of the nine ranking tournaments of 1999-2000 season because of a broken collarbone.

The 24-year-old Australian has made no fewer than 46 Australia-England-Australia flights.

BBC boost

And like all overseas players, has to expect a little expenditure, unlike the Brits.

Even qualifying events are held in Britain, hence the apparently bizarre items in the newspaper results services, like 'Thailand Masters in Burton on Trent'.

Cliff Thorburn
Thorburn won the World Championship in 1986

Organised competitive snooker started in Britain, so there has been for some 70 years, an infrastructure of local leagues and amateur championships.

The skills and the experience of the game have been passed on and the standard has been constantly driven up through competition since the dawn of the television age.

The BBC's decision to cover the 1978 championship in its entirety generated the money which itself provided the incentives for improvement.

Snooker has a long Commonwealth history.

Two Australians, Horace Lindrom in 1936, 1937 and 1946, and Eddie Charlton in 1973 and 1975, have lost in world finals.

Cliff Thorburn, who learnt his trade playing for money in pool halls across Canada took the trophy back home in 1980.

South Africa's Perrie Mans was runner-up to Ray Reardon in 1978.

Economic inequalities

The very best overeas players seem to make it to somewhere near the top, but there are dozens more of a professional standard who suffer from the inherent economic inequalities of the set up.

Some 60 nations are affiliated to the International Billiards and Snooker Federation.

Most participate in world amateur (i.e. not controlled by the professional body) European, Asian and world under-21 championships.

But the best of these can only improve by regular access to the best competition.

Continuing British domination of the professional game, both administratively and on the table, creates an impression of parochialism so that cynics can claim the British are best.

But the British are best because no-one else plays. The best thing that could happen is an equal spread of Britons and non-Britons at the top level - it would add an extra dimension to public interest.

If there was to be sequence of non-British world champions, editorials could be run on the lines of the endless inquests of why no British male has won Wimbledon since Fred Perry.

Links to more World Champs 2002 stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more World Champs 2002 stories

^^ Back to top