Snooker’s ‘People’s Champion’ Jimmy White has described the Waterfront Hall in Belfast as one of the best five venues in the world, after winning his qualifying match for the upcoming BetVictor Northern Ireland Open.
White turned 60 earlier this year but is still going strong on the sport’s professional tour and this week he earned a place in the final stages of the tournament to run at the Waterfront Hall from 16 - 23 October.
He made a fantastic century break of 132 in the deciding frame to beat Yuan Sijun 4-3 in the qualifying round, so he’ll be in a field of over 70 players, including defending champion and home favourite Mark Allen as well as Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump, Neil Robertson, Mark Selby and John Higgins.
White, who has won ten ranking titles and reached the final of the World Championship six times, said:
I have been going to the Waterfront since I was 17 or 18, playing the great, late Alex Higgins. I played many exhibitions against Alex there, plus tournaments, and I would say it is one of the top five venues that we play at. There is always a great atmosphere.
“I was due to be going there anyway to work for Eurosport, so to win my qualifying match and to be involved as a player means I’ll look forward to it even more.”
White, nicknamed The Whirlwind, also revealed that his son Tommy, the youngest of his five children, is helping him to practise and that has given him new motivation.
“Tommy is working with me, getting the balls out for me,” he said. “So instead of just an hour and a half on the practice table, he is making me do my four hours. He has had a year off work and has decided to come with me on the tour until the World Championship next April.
“We go walking on the Epsom Downs at home, it helps me get up and do that with him. But it’s mainly to do proper practice. It is all about confidence this game, and if you start to win it helps take the pressure off.”