Kunlunshan Water Interview With Jason Ferguson
For the next three years, Kunlun Mountain snow mountain mineral water will be the official partner of World Snooker. The Kunlunshan team interviewed WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson to find out more about the growth of snooker…
United Kingdom is snooker’s birthplace and the sport is very popular there. Snooker is a latecomer in China. How is the situation of snooker sport in China now?
The sport is new and has huge potential in China. As one of the four noble sports, though snooker started late in China, China is now the world’s most active market. Snooker has been developing very quickly in China, especially in recent years. Chinese players such as Ding Junhui, Liang Wenbo, and Fu Jiajun have become the top stars of this sport. What makes me really happy though is the new breed of young players from China including Zhao Xintong, Yan Bingtao and Zhou Yuelong. Statistics from our partner the China Billiards and Snooker Association has shown that there are now 70 million snooker lovers in China and its audience is as large as more than 250 million people. Simply unimaginable! Snooker has become the most favored sport in China, a huge consumption market! All this makes us expect much more from China and we have never been more confident about the sport’s future in China.
Now, snooker sport has gained a large following. In view of China market that has a huge potential, what measures does the World Snooker have for the future?
Holding larger scale matches and developing new events We will continue our strong cooperation with Chinese partners. In addition to China Billiards Association, we hope to see the participation of more enterprises in order to promote snooker sport to a higher level. Six years ago, there were only one or two events in China while now there are six or seven major matches every year with increasingly larger audiences and better media coverage. We plan to continue the cooperation. Meanwhile, we will hold larger scale matches and develop events to ensure more athletes from all over the world can show their skills in China. This will allow Chinese audience to appreciate the charm of our world class sport.
Cultivating snooker culture, constructing a good snooker atmosphere Presently, snooker has a huge following in China. However, there is a continued need to educate Chinese fans in terms of the sport’s culture. We are focusing on this education but it will take some time. If we can demonstrate what is great about our sport we feel that we can continue to grow the popularity of snooker in China. This is one of the reasons why we hope to cooperate with like-minded Chinese enterprises and hope to promote snooker in China with the help of the local advantage and influence Chinese enterprises have.
Which young Chinese snooker players do you think will be successful in the future?
Snooker is a sport that looks simple but really tests physical and mental strength. It requires athletes to reach a certain level of skill but also sets a very high requirement on psychological qualities. China has a great number of excellent athletes. Yan Bingtao and Zhou Yuelong won the World Cup as a pair, astonishing the whole snooker community. Now, both of them are participating in professional matches and have achieved very good results becoming the powerful competitors for this year’s largest events. Personally, I think Zhao Xintong is very talented and will become a huge star. This is not only a “technical” conclusion we can draw from his performances, but also a feeling we have about his instinct as a great snooker player.
What kind of spirit do you think an excellent snooker athlete should have?
Persistence snooker is a calm sport, however it is the ultimate test of a players skill, mental strength and endurance. Under the calm appearance are real fierce competition and multiple contests of technology, wisdom and psychology. Coolness, calmness, restraint and patience required by and presented by snooker are the results of long term persistence. To become an excellent snooker athlete, one should have the self-confidence and courage for persistence, in addition to a strong physique and keeping one’s body in shape.
Quietness and wisdom Snooker is a gentlemen sport that requires a pioneering spirit focusing on honor, responsibility, courage and self-discipline. A snooker player should be emotionally stable, free of external influence and focus. He or she can look at things in perspective and be wise and cool under pressure.
Pursuing extreme excellence. One should continuously improve both technical and psychological skills in order to achieve excellence. .
More and more world-class snooker events are selecting Chinese partners, such as the cooperation with Kunlun Mountains this time. What standards do you have when selecting partners? What roles can the participation of these well-known enterprises play in the promotion of snooker in China?
Not all brands can cooperate with the World Snooker. Such brands should have excellent quality and more important, strong brand “fit” with our sport. The cooperation of World Snooker with Kunlun Mountains is a win-win process. Through our partnership people from around the World will get to know the high-end mineral water brand Kunlun Mountains from China but at the same time Kunlun Mountains’ influence will provide promotion of snooker throughout China.
Carefully selecting the partner. Snooker is a high-end sport that attracts world attention and World Snooker has not only strictly controlled the tournament process but also attached great important to the physical and mental health of participating athletes. We are very cautious about selecting the water used for the events. Prior to the cooperation, we had made great efforts to know more about this brand. Through our investigations, we have learned that, as the leading brand of high-end drinking water, Kunlun Mountains Snow Mountain Mineral Water, a recipient of the “Golden Prize of Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting Contest”, is precious water from Kunlun Snow Mountain that is at an elevation of above 6,000 meters in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and can bring high quality water drinking experience for every snooker player, media and audience.
Promote snooker sport by means of Kunlun Mountains brand influence. Kunlun Mountains Snow Mountain Mineral Water signed a strategic cooperation agreement with World Snooker this May to become an official partner of the World Snooker in the future three year and to make contribution to the promotion of snooker sport in China together with World Snooker. We hope to promote our sport for “gentlemen” through the platform of Kunlun Mountains, e.g. providing the entrance tickets for the four major tournaments to Chinese snooker fans through a series of event promotion activities.
Snooker originated in the 19th century and has a rich and permanent historical culture. China is a major civilization with a long history and Kunlun Mountains brand was born in China and is going global. With Kunlun Mountains as link, what benefits do you think the cooperation will bring to snooker and China? What do expect from this cooperation between Kunlun Mountains and the World Snooker?
I hear that Kunlun Mountain at an elevation of above 6,000 meters has a high position in China and is called the “Ancestor of Ten Thousand Mountains”. This is where Kunlun Mountains Snow Mountain Mineral Water comes from. This represents Chinese spirit of pursing extreme excellence to a certain extent and is also an embodiment of Chinese culture. I’m very glad that we can take Mountains Snow Mountain Mineral Water as link to promote the communication between eastern and western cultures and connect China and western world in order to realize cultural exchanges and inheritance.