• T-Igor, T-Igor, burning bright in Hyderabad


    Igor Figureido from Brazil is through to the IBSF World Championship final after a 7-4 win over China's Yu Delu.

    It's hard to believe that a man who only first played on a 12 foot table in April this year is through to the IBSF World Snooker Championship final. It's like a fairytale, but it's all true.

    Igor Figueiredo, the multi Brazilian Champion on the ten foot tables, has beaten one player after another, seemingly without a care in the world, and now stands just one match from becoming the first player from South America to win the title.

    Brazil only joined the IBSF this year so it's the first time they have had a player in the Championships.

    "It is my dream come true", said a beaming Figueiredo.

    "I have been working with Chris Henry in Germany and we work on the mental skills."

    Figueiredo then earned a new nickname T-Igor as he stripped his shirt off to reveal a tattoo of a Tiger.

    The Brazilian will face Alfie Burden, the former professional from London, who was widely tipped as the pre-tournament favourite.

    Burden beat Welshman Phil Williams 7-3, but not before Williams staged something of a rearguard action.

    In the morning session Burden raced to a 4-0 lead helped by breaks of 81 and 73. He nicked the fourth on the black after Williams opened with 66.

    At that point the officials unaccountably stopped the session, which was scheduled for six frames, much to the annoyance of Burden.

    "I was dominating the match, you just want to keep playing in that situation", commented the Londoner in the only printable quote!

    Further aggravation was caused to the players when they were taken off for the first dope tests conducted by the IBSF under the WADA conditions.

    "I've just been to the toilet, you may have to wait a while", Williams quipped, taking it all in his stride.

    On the resumption Williams won three out of the first four frames to keep a toe hold in the match.

    However he missed a shot with the rest early in the next frame and Burden stepped in with 78 to secure his place in the final.

    "The job isn't done yet", commented Burden. "I would really love to win this and get my main tour place back. It would take away all that pressure of competing on the PIOS to try to get a place.

    "I played pretty well today. I haven't been happy with my form in some games, but I think my experience helped me a lot against some of the players. I'm hoping it will give me the edge in the final."

    The second semi final saw Fairy Tale Man Figueiredo up against the experienced Chinese player Yu Delu, another competitor tipped by some to take the title.

    At 2-0 to Delu it looked like the Brazilian dream may be about to fade but Figureido rallied to finish the first session at 3-3.

    In the evening he raced through the first three frames with breaks of 53, 77 and 106 to stand one frame from victory.

    Yu Delu responded with the tournament's high break, a brilliant 142 total clearance, but that was his last contribution as Figueiredo stepped up with a match winning 62 break.

    Fellow Brazilian Itaro Santos revealed that back in Brazil the interest has been growing daily. "We have a daily snooker programme on television which has been reporting Igor's progress and many newspapers and websites are carrying the stories."

    Santos amazed the Indian journalists when he revealed that more than 8 million people in Brazil regularly play snooker and it is not unusual to have over 5,000 entrants in an event.

    Figueiredo has endeared himself to fans, players and officials alike in India, with his charming smile and modest demeanour. But players also agreed that it would be very nice one day to see Brazil hosting the World Championship as everyone would enjoy a trip to Rio!

    Hong Kong's Ng On Yee became the first Hong Kong player to claim an IBSF title since Marco Fu in 1997, when she won the Ladies event with a 5-1 win over Australia's Kathy Parashis.

    "I'm so excited", said Ng On Yee with a massive smile on her face. "I'm very very happy."

    Parashis, the vastly experienced Australian was disappointed with her own performance but gracious in defeat.

    "I felt so good going into the match today. Although my previous best in the IBSF Ladies was a semi final place, I thought I was cueing well and was confident.

    "But it just didn't happen for me. I didn't hit the ball well today and Ng On Yee took her chances better than me.

    "I am disappointed at the moment, but when I get home and reflect I know I will realise that it's been a good achievement to go home with the Silver Medal."