SINGAPORE — Seven-time snooker world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan launched his inaugural academy in Singapore on Saturday (11 June), and hopes to launch many more in the region to nurture talents in Asia.
The Ronnie O'Sullivan Snooker Academy (RoSSA) is housed in a 16,000 square-foot venue at The Grandstand, with 12 snooker and 16 pool tables. Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong graced the opening ceremony with O'Sullivan.
"Rather than start our academy in the United Kingdom, where snooker is already well-established, we feel Asia is the future of the sport," said the 46-year-old Englishman.
“Singapore, with its strong links to the rest of Asia and its reputation as a global city for events, will serve as a strong springboard for us to launch our plans.”
Widely-regarded as one of the greatest snooker players of all time, O'Sullivan's seven world titles is a modern-day record he jointly holds with Stephen Hendry.
His accolades do not end there though, as he also holds the records for most career ranking titles (39), maximum breaks (15), century breaks (1,169; no-one else has more than 900), and consecutive World Championship main-draw appearances (30).
Academy to develop strong base, organise competitions
RoSSA will seek to develop a strong base of snooker players, and organise competitions where young talents can hone their skills before taking a stab on the professional circuit. It is planning to hold 23 ranking events in 2022, and another 30 mini-tournaments.
It is also working with Cuesports Singapore (CS) to be recognised as one of the national sports association’s Centres of Excellence (COEs). Currently, the Cuesports Academy at Katong Shopping Centre is the only COE, where young players aged 7 to 16 have been training.
“There are many young talents playing in snooker halls around the region. But many of them find it hard to sustain a living while playing in domestic amateur tournaments," said RoSSA chief executive officer Gary Tan.
“One of the key targets of RoSSA is to establish a regional amateur circuit which will both provide opportunities for these talents to compete as well as provide a sizeable prize pool for promising players to continue their development.”
To enable promising players to train while they work, RoSSA has provided scholarships to former national snooker player Jaden Ong, 32, and national pool player Sharik Sayed, 34, who is ranked 48th in the world.
RoSSA is hopeful of expanding into the region within the next year, with Thailand the likely next stop for the academy before it looks to expand to China.
O'Sullivan to take part in snooker tournament
As part of the academy's launch, O’Sullivan will take part in a four-player snooker tournament featuring China's Zhao “The Cyclone” Xintong, Thailand's reigning women's world champion Nutcharut Wongharuthai, and Ong on 18 June.
RoSSA members and the public may also get a chance to take on O'Sullivan in exhibition matches next week.
Standard and VIP tickets to the events are priced from $158 to $588. Visit the academy's official website for more details.
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