Mark Selby beats Ronnie O’Sullivan for world snooker title

Mark SelbyMark Selby won his first world championship snooker title at The Crucible earlier this week after an amazing fight-back to beat the favourite Ronnie O’Sullivan. He won 18-14 after trailing O’Sullivan 8-3 and 10-5.

The 30-year-old champion dedicated the win to the memory of his late father saying, “When my dad passed away I was 16. It was two months before I turned professional, and his last words to his son were, ‘I want you to become world champion’,” recalled a tearful Selby.  

Recollecting his humble background he said, “When I was 16, I more or less had nothing. We had a council house and me and my brother and I had to go our separate ways because we couldn’t really afford the house”

He remembered he used to go to the snooker centre once a week because that was all he could afford before Willie Thorne’s brother allowed him to for practice for free after school and, he recounted that he’d practice for hours and hours.

The new world No 1 took away £300,000 in prize money, but said the victory meant more than the money. “I don’t play snooker for the money. I play snooker for the love of the game” he said. 

Later, Selby paid more tribute to snooker commentator Willie Thorne’s elder brother, Malcolm Thorne, who died of cancer, in 2011. “Malcolm more or less got me involved in snooker. He was the one who spotted me and sponsored me for a few years,” Selby said.

Willie Thorne was least surprised when Selby beat O’Sullivan (widely acknowledged as the sport’s greatest ever snooker player) saying, “Mark was the most dedicated young player I ever had in my club”

Analyzing Selby’s game Thorne continued, “he is in my all-time top three as a tactical player – along with John Higgins and Steve Davis – since the era of Ray Reardon and John Spence… I can see him being at the very top for the next four to five years and winning another five or six ranking events and maybe another world title.”

After the final O’Sullivan ranked Selby equally with Cliff Thorburn, the formidable Canadian, but Thorne said “I think Mark is better”

Muhammad Irfan

The writer is assistant editor at Lahore Dispatch. He writes on Technology, education and Sports. You can find him on Google+

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