Vietnamese billiards player wins third global title to rise to world's number two

By Xuan Binh   March 3, 2024 | 09:55 pm PT
Vietnamese billiards player wins third global title to rise to world's number two
(From L) A screenshot of runner-up Sameh Sidhom, champion Tran Quyet Chien, third places Glenn Hofman and Robinson Morales on the podium after the final of the Three-Cushion World Cup Bogota, Colombia on March 3, 2024.
Vietnam's top billiards player, Tran Quyet Chien, defeated Egypt's Sameh Sidhom 50-44 after 31 turns to win the Three-Cushion World Cup for the third time.

In the decisive strike, Chien celebrated before the ball went in. He kissed his cue and bowed to the audience. The audience in Bogota, Colombia also gave a round of applause to the Vietnamese player, while Sidhom congratulated and hugged Chien.

Chien, 40, was once ranked third in the world. For the past six years, he has been Vietnam's number one player, reaching the World Cup finals five times with three wins. Chien ranked fifth in the world before the tournament and, with the victory on Monday morning (Hanoi time), rose to second after South Korea's Cho Myung-woo.

His opponent in Bogota was the same player he defeated in the final in Porto, Portugal, last year. Sidhom entered this final aiming for redemption but was unsuccessful. The Egyptian player is still yet to win his first world title.

Chien was trailing by 10 points at 19-29 but then scored 12 consecutive points to take the lead 31-29. This was also the highest-scoring run by the Vietnamese player in the tournament. From there, both players were in a close race and tied at 43-43. Chien then went on to score six points and concluded the match with a score of 50-44.

Chien won all seven matches in Bogota, starting from the group stage where he defeated Ecuador's Luis Aveiga, host player Daniel Moreno and Sidhom in Group F. His performance in the group stage has an average of 1.791 points. In the knockout stages, he defeated former world champion Tayfun Tasdemir, Tolgahan Kiraz and the dark horse Glenn Hofman, before defeating Sidhom again in the final. His average performance in the tournament was 1.693 points per turn, lower than in his previous two championship wins.

The Three-Cushion World Cup is held seven times each year, gathering hundreds of players from the qualifying rounds. Organized by the World Billiards Union (UMB) since 1986, Ho Chi Minh City has been a regular stop for the tournament since 2015.

Chien continued to solidify his place as the top Vietnamese player, securing his third world title after winning in Ho Chi Minh City in 2018 and Porto in 2023. There’s only one other Vietnamese player has won a world title, Bao Phuong Vinh, with the victory in Turkey last year.

The next major tournament for Chien is the World Team Championship, where he will play alongside Vinh in Viersen, Germany, from March 21 to 24. This is the only world championship in three-cushion billiards that Vietnam has not yet won.

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