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Do Women Snooker?

In England and other parts of Europe, snooker – a cue sport – and the athletes who thrive in it are something of a big deal.

Reanne Evans, an English snooker player, has been making headlines for a while now in the sport, being an eleven-time world champion of women’s snooker. In men’s snooker, no man has ever won more than seven titles.

Reanne’s rankings are stunning, and yet women’s snooker is hardly televised. Evans is used to picking up checks of up to three or four figures in comparison to men’s six-figure winnings.

Evans’ public profile, despite her immense prowess in snooker, is nothing like men’s in the cue sport, such as world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, who is well known throughout Europe. It is notable to mention that O’Sullivan is a five-time world champion with near celebrity status, whereas Evans is an eleven-time master with little to no recognition.

As The New York Times aptly states, “still, snooker, the pool variant with a sometimes bewildering array of 22 colored balls on the table, would seem to be a sport that favors neither men nor women, since strength and size are not major assets.”

This point was proved when Evans won her first match of this year’s world snooker championship in Sheffield, England. She won 10-8 over opponent Robin Hull of Finland, the 57th ranked man.

The winning prize of this year’s championship is 375,000 pounds, equivalent to roughly 471,000 USD. When Ng On Yee, another snooker champion, won the women’s title in Singapore in March, she won 5,000 pounds, roughly 6,000 USD. The striking difference in value placed on women’s progress in this sport versus that of men’s is just another reason why Evans’ accomplishments in snooker are all the more satisfying. She lets her abilities do the talking.

The New York Times noted that “in 2014, Steve Davis, a six-time world champion, said of female snooker players to the BBC: “The male of the species has got a single-minded, obsessional type of brain that I don’t think so many females have.” Davis also mentioned that he did not think a woman would ever qualify for the 32-player main draw of the Worlds.

As in any sport, in the world of snooker, talk is cheap; it is the skill behind your shots that matters.

In terms of the 32-player main draw of the Worlds that Davis didn’t believe a woman could ever qualify for, Reanne Evans is letting her shots do the talking. She is two wins away.

Featured Image by snookercenterberlin on  Flickr
Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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