Tayfun Tasdemir of Turkey on the podium at the 2015 billiards World Cup in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo credit: UMB
The world’s top five players in three-cushion carom billiards will be among 149 players from 19 countries and territories competing in the World Cup to be held in Ho Chi Minh City from May 16 to 22.
They are Torbjörn Blomdahl of Sweden, Sanchez Daniel of Spain, Jaspers Dick of the Netherlands and Frédéric Caudron and Eddy Merckx of Belgium.
Last year’s champion Tayfun Tasdemir of Turkey, ranked sixth, will defend his title at the Nguyen Du Stadium in downtown HCMC, where he beat Torbjörn Blomdahl 40-34 in 17 frames in last year’s final.
World Union of Billiards president Farouk Barki was eager for the World Cup to be held for a second year in a row in HCMC, a city with a population of 9 million and more than 1,000 billiards clubs.
“I saw the best audience in the world in the World Cup last year,” he said.
“The Vietnamese are real billiards lovers, they are nice and warm and known for their great hospitality.”
Vietnam’s best player, Quyet Chien Tran, received an automatic entry since he is ranked in the world’s top 12.
Two other home players, Duong Anh Vu and Ly The Vinh, were awarded wild cards.
Vu, six times national champion and twice Asian champion (2007 and 2008), owns two billiards clubs himself.
“We all look forward to the HCMC World Cup, which was a huge success last year,” Vu said.
“The stands will be filled up to watch the world stars shining in this tournament.”
Organizers are hoping that the event will also promote tourism.
“The country is a paradise for tourists, which is more or less the reason for a bigger interest among billiard players from many countries. They heard the stories and want to visit the country,” Barki said.
The semi-finals and the final are scheduled for May 22.
Most of the matches will be broadcast live on HTV The Thao.
This year’s event will carry prize money worth 40,000 euros (US$45,520), including 5,500 euros for the champion.