Sport: Kyren Wilson wins world snooker championship




Excitement was off the scale here at Sorted HQ as we watched Kyren Wilson win his second World Championship final against Welsh qualifier Jak Jones. BBC Sport reports Wilson beating Jones 18-14 to win the world championship. Last year I had the pleasure of getting to know Kyren a little bit better when I interviewed him for Sorted Magazine. I’m a big snooker fan so what a thrill it was to speak to one of the top guys in the world – World Number Seven, Kyren Wilson. Here’s how it went:

Steve Legg (SL): Hi Kyren. That’s an unusual name that I’ve heard pronounced differently. What do your friends call your Ky, Kyren or nothing at all?

Kyren Wilson (KW): Ky, Kyren or anything but never Keiron.

SL: I’ve seen you play many times, and they mess it up sometimes, don’t they?

KW: I know. My very first debut on TV was on Eurosport. My management company had to message the commentators saying it’s Ky as in sky and Ren as in running. That’s how they got them to pronounce it correctly. My mum and dad were actually torn between Kyle and Kieron. So they mixed the two. That is as simple as that.

SL: So now we know. Ky, my love for snooker came from watching Pot Black, because I’m older than you. Where did it come from for you?

KW: Just a natural obsession with it. You know, there’s a picture that my mum and dad have from when I was two or three years old. There’s like a toy baby golf set. And instead of using it the traditional way, I put the golf ball on a coffee table, turn the golf club around, and start queuing with it. You know, nobody told me what to do with it. You know, there was just a fascination. That’s the way I wanted to do it. And yeah, my dad was a very keen pool player. Yeah. And at the time, it was frowned upon for younger children to play in pubs and stuff like that. There’s an old saying of something you can’t have, you want to even more so yeah, just an obsession from a young age.

SL: Because it’s not one of those sports like footy or tennis, you can pick up as a toddler by kicking or hitting a ball about. Snooker is an entirely different kettle of fish, though; I assume countries in the far east have some fantastic young talents. Do they have special tables for little kids?

KW: Um, yeah, you know, one of the most amazing things that I ever saw in my travels with the world snooker tour in Shanghai, and in between the Shanghai Masters I went to visit one of their local schools. And half of the school was a snooker club. You had about four or five snooker tables, some smaller tables for the younger children. And one of them gave me their book. And I said, you know, what’s this? And it was like, their homework and it was different practice routines. So yeah, if I was born in China, I’d have loved school more.

SL: I bet. So do you remember your first visit to a snooker club with your dad?

KW: We were quite lucky in Kettering. There were lots of good clubs around. We went there quite often during the week. My dad used to have quite a few arguments with my mum about it, because my mum was very much into education and my dad wanted me to carry on practising. He could see that as a natural talent. So I was very lucky to have it from a young age.

SL: So when did you realise you were outstanding?

KW: It was when I was six years old. I played Peter Ebdon in a local charity pool match. And Peter broke off and he didn’t pot a ball. And I stepped up to the table, just six years old, wearing black trousers, a white shirt, and a red waistcoat and cleared the table. So he turned to my mum and dad and said, you know, get him into snooker. He’s got a real natural talent and that’s where his future lies.

SL: That is amazing. Peter Ebdon is a good pal of yours and is in your corner these days and does a bit of coaching with you?

KW: Yeah, we work closely together and he’s greatly influenced me over the years. And I was very lucky to have him as a solid, consistent practice partner for many years up until, unfortunately, recently, when he had to retire due to health reasons. So yeah, it’s been a significant impact on my career. So I’m very grateful for that.

Footnote: The full interview was published in the July/August 2023 print edition of Sorted Magazine or listen to our conversation at Konnect Radio.

Main Photo Credit: Courtesy of Kyren Wilson

Steve Legg

Steve is a British speaker, author and founder of The Breakout Trust, a Christian mission organisation based in Littlehampton on the south coast of England. Since 1988 he has travelled the length and breadth of the UK and 30 countries overseas, covering a staggering 1.5 million miles on the road, using a crazy mix of comedy, trickery and mystery to communicate the Christian message to young and old. He has performed at top venues globally including NIA Birmingham, Wembley Arena and London’s Royal Albert Hall. Radio and TV appearances are in the hundreds. His passion is creative communication of the Christian faith through performances, books, DVD’s and other resources. The author of 17 books, these days when he’s not on the road, much of his time is spent on the groundbreaking men’s Christian lifestyle magazine, Sorted.

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