Made in China

03:45:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

I remember the first time I heard the expression "Made in China". I had no idea what it meant, but it sounded so funny that all the kids from the block were saying it. But in time, I understood what it means and since my country was invaded by "Chinese stuff" we all had the perception that "Made in China" = poor quality products. Not that we were wrong, but China means so much more that this.

Snooker is a total blast in China, it’s becoming more and more popular and that’s why two of the world major ranking events are held here - sure you know I’m talking about China Open and Shanghai Masters. And maybe that’s why World Snooker embraced the new Star Gold tables "Made in China" and renounced at its partnership with Rileys. (a partnership that lasted from 1993 until this year).

What’s really amazing is that while many (unfortunately) English players are not practicing as much as they did before, or they aren’t giving their best, the little Chinese people are on top. Now, is nothing wrong with that, actually it’s something to be proud of.

The current number 5 in the world of snooker is Ding Junhui. Now, we all know this guy, for he is a true revelation for the Chinese snooker and international snooker for that matter. He started playing snooker at the age of nine and he worked very, very hard to enter into the professional circuit, to play at Sheffield Academy, or even better at The Crucible Theatre. He is the youngest winner (along with John Higgins) of three ranking titles and the first outsider (UK and Ireland) to win the UK Championship. Also he shares with Ronnie "The Rocket” O`Sullivan the record in compiling a century of centuries after only five seasons.

Ding, who’s only 23 years old, won 2 UK Championship titles (the first in 2005, when he won 10-6 over the six-time world champion Steve Davis and the second one in 2009, when he beat 10-8 the current world number 1, John Higgins), one China Open title, in 2005 when he won 9-5 over Stephen Hendry and one Northern Ireland Trophy title in 2006, when he won 9-6 over "The Rocket".
He also hit the 147 break two times, first at The Saga Insurance Masters in 2007 and the second one in 2008, at the UK Championship.
If you want to see it for yourselves, here’s the video (the 1st part and the 2nd part).

The 32 year-old Marco Fu is currently world number 14 and, as his fellow country Ding, started playing snooker at an early age. A very ambitious guy, Marco was rated 377th in the world when he became a professional, and look at him now! ;)
In 2007 at the Grand Prix tournament, he won over John Higgins (5-4), Liu Song (5-0), Gerard Greene (6-5) and he reached the final, where he played against Ronnie O`Sullivan. He actually won with an amazing 9-6!
After eight seasons he reached his century of centuries and also made his entrance into the world of the magic number 147! :) The year: 2000. Where? : at the Regal Scottish Masters. :P

World number 16 is occupied by Liang Wenbo, the left-handed youngster from Zhaodong. This tiny “crazy” robot knocked out David Gilbert, Peter Ebdon, Ali Carter, Ricky Walden and Shaun Murphy in 2009, at The Shanghai Masters and reached the final where he was defeated by O`Sullivan (10-5).
Although he never won a ranking event title (yet ;)) he also "recorded" an amazing 147, at the Bahrain Snooker Championship Qualifying in 2008.

Anda Zhang is the current world number 71, but this doesn’t mean a thing, if you are to think about his potential and his talent. He is only 5 ft 3 ins and is nicknamed "Mighty Mouse". Why? Well, you’ll just have to figure this one for yourself! :P The 19 year-old Chinese wonder-boy didn’t hit a maximum break yet but his performance at the Shanghai Masters Qualifying (that recently ended) was pure madness; it’s true, he lost in the final round to Matthew Stevens (5-2) though. Also for the 6th round of the World Championship 2010 he played against the seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry; he was defeated, but at a beautiful 10-9 scoreline. Can you imagine the effort and the pressure? Totally amazing!

So, maybe the "Made in China" expression is not that bad after all. It’s not just about fake brands or poor quality products. And I wouldn’t be surprised if in the next years we’ll have a Chinese champion. I mean China showed us it can excel in so many domains, why would snooker be the exception? :)