Vietnamese player quits China's billiards tournament after nine-dash line incident

By Le Tuyet   September 25, 2023 | 03:15 am PT
Vietnamese player quits China's billiards tournament after nine-dash line incident
Vietnam's number one billiard player Tran Quyet Chien. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong
Tran Quyet Chien quit a billiards tournament in Shanghai, China, after a map containing the illegal nine-dash line appeared on live television of the game between him and Dick Jaspers.

Nguyen Nam Nhan, deputy director of HCMC Culture and Sports Department, confirmed the information with VnExpress on Monday.

Chien was invited to an exhibition tournament organized by World Billiards Union (UMB) and the China Billiards and Snooker Association (CBSA) in Shanghai from Sept. 23-24. It was held to promote three-cushion billiards and celebrate CBSA joining the Asian Confederation of Billiard Sports.

Also attending the tournament were famous players in the world’s top 10 like Cho Myung-woo (South Korea), Dick Jaspers (Netherlands) and Tayfun Tasdemir (Turkey).

Nhan confirmed that the invitation letter as well as information about the tournament on UMB’s official website did not mention any political element. Therefore, the department sent Chien to the tournament. The matches were broadcast live on digital platforms.

However, during the live broadcast of the game between Chien and Jaspers on Saturdays, images of a China map containing the illegal nine-dash line appeared in slow-motion replays of the shots.

China has used the nine-dash line to illegally claim vast swathes of the South China Sea, known in Vietnam as the East Sea, but the claim has been internationally rejected and condemned.

At that time, Chien sat with his back facing the screen so he could not see the image. However, after the match, Chien acknowledged the incident and immediately contacted his coach Nguyen Viet Hoa to consult him.

Hoa said the China map with the nine-dash line violates Vietnam's sovereignty, and coach Hoa agreed with Chien to stop participating in the event and asked him to return to Vietnam as soon as possible.

The incident was immediately reported to the HCMC Department of Culture and Sports.

"Chien booked a flight and returned on Saturday night," Nhan said.

Nhan added that he and the department agreed with this solution because the organizers clearly knew that the participating athlete was from Vietnam but they had shown "disrespect."

The department will also send a document to UMB requesting them to seriously respect participants when organizing similar international tournaments.

For more than five years, Chien has been the number one player in Vietnam, reaching the World Cup finals four times and winning two titles.

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