Vietnamese player praised for sportsmanship in billiards World Cup final

By Xuan Binh   May 27, 2024 | 11:35 pm PT
Vietnamese player praised for sportsmanship in billiards World Cup final
Tran Duc Minh in the match against Kim Jun-tae in the Three-Cushion World Cup final in Ho Chi Minh City on May 26, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong
Vietnam's Tran Duc Minh almost mistakenly hit his opponent's cue ball in the Three-Cushion World Cup final, but was reminded by spectators, so he intentionally failed to score in an act of sportsmanship.

In round 12 of the final in HCMC on Sunday, while Minh was leading 24-16, he was going to hit Kim Jun-tae's yellow cue ball. Some spectators pointed out that Minh would hit the wrong ball. Instead, the Vietnamese player played his shot safe rather than attempt to win any points.

Minh's action won the hearts of international fans.

One fan named Seiyul Yu wrote on Facebook: "I became a fan of Duc Minh from today, not because of his talent or the World Cup he just won, but because of his sportsmanship in the final. Minh could have easily scored in that position, but decided not to do so."

The fan also said it was fine for Minh to be reminded by the audience before making the mistake. "Because every sport has a home advantage, and Vietnam has the most passionate fans. If Minh still scores points in that situation, I think it's fair. That's why I respect him even more," he said.

Expert Bert van Manen said, "That moment was beautiful. Duc Minh not only showed great personality, but also proved that he can think all the way through. He didn’t take advantage of the fans, so he refused to score but also made it difficult for his opponent to score as well. Minh couldn't have handled this moment any better."

Tran Duc Minh's fair play during the Three-Cushion World Cup final

Minh is considered an amateur player, as he has never gone abroad to compete in UMB tournaments. He had to play from the second qualifying round, but still entered the group stage and won four knockout matches to win the title.

He is the second Vietnamese player to win the World Cup, after Tran Quyet Chien, who has won three titles.

In the final, Minh beat Kim 50-46 with an average of 2.173 points per turn, and was praised by Quyet Chien for his solid playing style with comprehensive offense and defense.

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