Young snooker prospect Adam Stefanow left Poland two years ago to pursue his dream of becoming a professional.
By Andrew Wilson
This week he became the first Polish player to compete in the final stages of the UK Championship. The 22-year-old lost 6-0 to Stuart Bingham in the first round in York but still enjoyed the occasion.
“It was a brilliant experience for someone like me to play one of the best players in the world,” said Stefanow, who is based at the Star Snooker Academy in Sheffield, where he practises six to nine hours each day to develop his skills.
“Losing is not the worst the thing in the world because this is how all players on the tour started. I had my chance in the first frame against Stuart but I didn’t take it.”
Stefanow will be offered a place in many ranking events this season as one of the top ranked amateurs from Q School earlier in the year, having won six matches at the event. “Q School is the best way to learn to play against tour-standard players,” said Stefanow, who has received coaching from Terry Griffiths and Barry Stark.
Stefanow actually started out playing American pool before switching to snooker and falling in love with the game. Popularity in Poland is growing, with more and more people tuning in, thanks to regular coverage from Eurosport. But he feels the nation needs an icon and hopes someday he can be the ‘Ding Junhui of Poland.’
“This is what I dream about, being a role model, that’s why I just dedicated myself to start and show all Polish people we can do it,” he said.
A fluent English speaker, Stefanow works part time in a local pub in Sheffield to help fund his snooker passion, while spending as much time as he can on the baize during the build up to tournaments.
His parents made the journey from Poland to York to see him face Bingham, as did his sister who lives in Newcastle. He will be taking a break over the festive period to go home to Kozuchow for Christmas, for the first time in four years.
He added: “I wouldn’t be here, where I am, without my family. It’s the most important thing in life.”