THE PAGEANTRY OF WOMEN’S POOL

August 9, 2013
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THE PAGEANTRY OF WOMEN’S POOL
AS THE 2013 WOMEN’S WORLD 9-BALL CHAMPIONSHIP BEGINS IN SHENYANG, CHINA, ORGANIZERS GIVE THE LADIES A SEND OFF FIT FOR QUEENS.

BY TED LERNER
WPA PRESS OFFICER

Photos Courtesy of Tai Chengze/top147.com

IMG 5297 THE PAGEANTRY OF WOMENS POOL

For some reason, the organizers didn’t throw out the succulent spread of Chinese delicacies. But as usual, they spared no effort in providing plenty of pomp and pageantry.

(Shenyang, China)–Anyone who has ever been to any kind of event in China knows the importance that the Chinese place on ceremony. Everyone, especially the organizers, and other local dignitaries who didn’t even have anything to do with putting the event together, are all given their moment to shine, usually with long winded speeches that nobody listens to. Guests are made to feel that they are about to get the keys to the Forbidden City in Beijing. Often times food is involved, lots of it, as well as copious amounts of alcoholic drink. Teenage girls in elaborate get-ups dance to some loud and catchy song. Throngs of rabid photographers swarm the event recording it all.

And so it was at the opening ceremony of the 2013 WPA Women’s World 9-ball Championship on Thursday night inside the ultra-hip Richgate Shopping Center complex here in Shenyang.

For some reason, the organizers didn’t throw out the succulent spread of Chinese delicacies. But as usual, they spared no effort in providing plenty of pomp and pageantry.

As teams of youngsters scurried about preparing the arena for the event, orchestral music filled the atrium, as dozens of photographers and hundreds of fans and onlookers waited for the event to begin. At one end of the mall, towering over a Star pool table, a giant LED screen flashed information about the event’s title sponsor, a giant construction company named the Guoao Group.

The festivities began with some sort of press conference. I say “some sort of” because in China, the press doesn’t really ask proper questions. Any questions are usually giant “softballs” designed to let the person answering enumerate all the positives of the event and the people involved. Nothing controversial will ever be brought up.

After several minutes the chairs were pushed aside and the entertainment commenced. The theme for this year’s Women’s World 9-ball Championship is “All Stars” and “Shine 9-ball,” and the two phrases are plastered on every poster throughout the mall. Suddenly an all-girl band appeared on the floor. They carried instruments like the violin, guitar, flute, keyboard, all wrapped in brightly colored blue LED lights. They wore knee-high leather boots, wide-frilly skirts, and had microphones attached to their cheeks.

The loud catchy music commenced and they girls went into action, dancing to the music, pretending to play their instruments. Right from the start it was obvious they were just miming as several of the instruments were clearly broken. Still, the effect was pretty cool.

IMG 5229 THE PAGEANTRY OF WOMENS POOLWhen the polite applause died down, it was time to bring on the main event of the evening. The introduction of the players. In one of the more bizarre juxtapositions one could find anywhere on the planet, the theme of the classic American western movie, The Magnificent Seven, filled the hall as the lady emcee brought out the players. And what an entrance it was.

There’s an escalator that descends straight into the atrium and the organizers had each of the players descend down the escalator as they were being introduced. First up was defending champion Kelly Fisher of Great Britain. As she slowly descended, a phalanx of photographers clicked away furiously down at the bottom. Kelly, clearly awed and delighted at the attention, waived and smiled. She then walked through the gauntlet of pool paparazzi, and posed next to the pool table, as camera flashes filled the air. Next she walked over to a wall that had been set up with a giant tournament poster. She signed a styrofoam star, then stuck the star onto one of the blank stars of the poster.(All Stars..get it?). She then turned and posed for another wall of photographers. Finally she took her seat in the audience.

The big stars each got their own introduction and it was fashion and glamor straight down the line. China’s Fu Xiaofang stunned in an all black dress. Her close friend Liu Shasha elicited a few ooh and ahhs with a sporty new hairstyle and a colourful outfit. Many of the Eur Read more ...

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