Vietnamese billiards player achieves world number one position

By Xuan Binh   June 14, 2024 | 09:51 pm PT
Vietnamese billiards player achieves world number one position
Vietnamese number one billiards player Tran Quyet Chien. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong
Tran Quyet Chien has become the first Vietnamese player to reach the number one position in world billiards, according to the UMB ranking.

Dick Jaspers' 30-50 defeat to Heo Jung-han in the round of 16 of the World Cup in Ankara on Friday night paved the way for Chien to make history. Regardless of the outcomes for Chien and other players, he will ascend to the top of the world ranking after the tournament in Turkey.

The World Billiards Union (UMB) employs two rankings: the World Players Ranking and the UMB Events Ranking. The World Players Ranking takes into account the results of tournaments under UMB, as well as continental and national tournaments. In contrast, the UMB Events Ranking only includes the results of UMB tournaments.

The World Players Ranking factors in the results of eight World Cups, one World Championship, and the latest continental and domestic tournaments. The UMB Events Ranking considers the results of the 10 most recent World Cups and the most recent World Championship. The world champion earns 120 points, the World Cup winner and continental champion get 80 points, and the domestic champion receives 30 points.

The World Players Ranking is used for seeding players at continental and domestic tournaments, while the UMB Events Ranking is used for seeding in the World Cup and World Championship.

According to both rankings, Chien will be the new world number one after the tournament in Ankara. Before this World Cup, he was second in both rankings, trailing by one point behind South Korea’s Kim Jun-tae in the World Players Ranking and 10 points behind Jaspers in the UMB Events Ranking. He only needed to defend 18 points and 26 points less than Jaspers to surpass them.

Kim was eliminated in the group stage in Ankara on June 13, leaving Jaspers as the only contender for the number one position. In the round of 16 on Friday, Jaspers lost to Heo 30-50, while Chien defeated compatriot Tran Thanh Luc 50-39. Even if Chien loses in the quarterfinals, he will still be 33 points ahead of Kim and 24 points ahead of Jaspers.

Chien, 40, is the first Vietnamese player to win the World Cup, in Ho Chi Minh City in 2018, and has won three titles so far. He also won the World Three-Cushion Championship for National Teams with Bao Phuong Vinh, in Germany in March 2024. The world number one spot helps Chien become one of the rare Vietnamese athletes to rank number one in the world in a sport, after shooter Hoang Xuan Vinh in the men's 10m air pistol in 2014.

Also in the round of 16 in Ankara, Vietnam's number two player, Phuong Vinh, maintained his high form in the tournament with a 50-29 victory against host player Tolgahan Kiraz.

The quarterfinals will take place on Saturday night. Phuong Vinh will face another host player, Omer Karakurt at 9 p.m., while Quyet Chien plays Heo at 11:30 p.m.

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