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Zhao wins men’s snooker gold as China finish top in billiard sports

26 Sep 2017
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, September 26, 2017: Zhao Xintong won the men’s snooker singles final at the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games on Tuesday to secure China’s fifth gold medal at Ashgabat’s Billiards Arena. Zhao completed a 4-2 victory over Iran’s Hossein Vafaei Ayouri to win the best of seven final with a frame to spare.

The final was an unusually tense affair with both players showing signs of nerves with the gold medal at stake, missing several pots and exchanging safety shots. "We did not play well. He gave me a lot of chances and I got it done in the end," said Zhao, who beat another Iranian, Soheil Vahedi in the semi-finals.

Vafaei Ayouri earned his place in the gold medal match the hard way, winning the last two frames to defeat China’s Zhou Yuelong 4-3 but was unable to overhaul Zhao after falling 3-1 behind. “You never know with the short game, it is like the flip of a coin,” Vafaei Ayouri said. “I had a great week and I tried my best, that is all I know.”

China also won the gold in the women’s 10-ball pool singles on Tuesday when Chen Siming withstood a late fightback from Rubilen Amit of the Philippines. Chen was just one rack away from clinching victory when she opened up a 6-3 lead but Amit won the next two to cut the deficit to 6-5 before the Chinese sealed a 7-5 victory.

“I knew this match would be difficult, that it would be tough," Chen said. "The Philippines are very good and very strong at 10-Ball.” Kyrgyzstan captured its first ever gold medal in cue sports at the AIMAG when Yzatbek Ratbekov beat Kazakhstan’s Alibek Omarov 5-1 in the men’s Russian pyramid combined style singles.

Omarov won the opening frame but Ratbekov proceeded to reel off the next five on the trot to seal victory.
“I'm very excited but also calm. I was very concentrated,” he said. “It was so hard to win even though the margin is big,” Ratbekov said.
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