SIBU: If the just concluded 27th National Closed Snooker Championship is any indication, the standard of Sarawak players is far below par.
Sarawak sent 12 players for the annual tournament held in X Club Snooker and Dart Centre in Kuala Lumpur – Mark Yeo, Danny Wong, Sim Hong Hui and Pau Chiong Kiong from the central zone; Edmund Bong, Chay Yean Keong, Ricardo Sim and Yap Teck Lim from the southern zone; Elvis Wong, Hii Siew Chuan, Tomson Macus and Hii Sui Huong from the northern zone.
Only Mark and Ricardo managed to qualify for the last 32.
Seven of them were eliminated in the first round and another three in the second round.
52-year-old Penangite Elvin Lian outwitted Saiful Bahari 6-4 to lift the national title, bagging the RM6,000 prize.
Yeo, when contacted, described the results as somewhat expected but nothing short of disappointment.
“Before the trip, I have mentioned the last 32 as our immediate target and we should be happy that we had two players qualify for that stage.”
“Our players lack the skill, the potting accuracy, the mental strength and the much-needed exposure and experience to compete with the players from the Peninsula.
“Going by the current rate, there is nothing to suggest that any of our players can qualify for the last 16, perhaps not even until the next decade,” he added.
He called on the Sarawak Billiards Snooker and Sports Federation (SBSSF) to do some soul-searching and make serious efforts to help upgrade the standard of our players.
“SBSSF should really wake up from the slumber and treat this matter with urgency,” Yeo said, while pledging that all the snooker bodies in the state would be willing to lend their support.
Yeo, however, thanked SBSSF for sponsoring the outing despite the gloomy outlook.
“This is a good beginning and, hopefully, more good tidings will come thereafter.”