Osaka, Japan- Yu Ram Cha of Korea will be vying for her first title in Japan at the 41st Annual All Japan Championships. The All Japan Championships is considered a world points ranking event and has a long history as one of the oldest and longest running events in the world. Cha is part of a team of players managed by Dragon Promotions who is one of the world's leading producers of billiard events and television programming. Dragon Promotions players Rodney Morris (USA), Charlie Williams (USA), and Mika Immonen (FIN) will also be competing for their first win in Osaka.
Cha has just recently returned to Asia after her six month stay in the US. Cha's intensive training under the tutelage of top American pro Charlie Williams has skyrocketed Cha dramatically from unranked to #18 in her first year of the WPBA, earning her pro tour card. Cha also was the recipient of the WPBA's 2008 Most Improved Pro Player Award . She has not participated in Japan in the past three years and prior to that never finished in the top 16. Cha's last visit to Asia competing internationally resulted in a disappointing 5th Place Korea Pro Tour Championships and traumatizing last place finish at The Women's World 9-Ball Championship back in April.
"My last tournaments in Asia were an eye opening experience. Though at the time I felt horrible at my play, it was a good experience because it made me realize I needed to learn more and train harder. Coming to America and training under Dragon Promotions with Charlie Williams has changed my game. " explained the 21 year old Cha. "Now I'm nervous and excited about returning to Japan. It's an important title for me."
"Yu Ram has evolved alot in the past six months. Not just as a player, but as a person. She has a great work ethic and is a perfectionist. I think she is just beginning to grasp the kind of power she has in her game, and it's just a matter of time before she really gets going. Her successes so far is just a good start is what I tell her," says Williams. He further predicted, "For the All Japan Championships, I'd be surprised if she didn't at least reach the semi-finals. "
Efren Reyes, Francisco Bustamante, Ronnie Alcano, Lee Van Corteza, and Alex Pagualyan lead the strong Filipino contingent. Wu Chia Ching leads Taiwan while Ralf Souquet and recent Asia 10-Ball Champion Thorsten Hohmann will join to create a tougher field.
Mika Immonen also has a personal score to settle at this event. Immonen has finished a record 2nd Place four times in the past 10 years. Immonen just recently put to rest his demons by winning the US Open 9-Ball after coming close with a 3rd and 2nd place. Immonen playing the best pool in his career now may be peaking at the right time to kill two big events he's missing in his repertoire this year in 2008.
"Now that I've won the US Open, I have to win the All Japan. Four second place finishes is unacceptable." promises Immonen.
Rodney Morris, the current World Cup Champion, will be making his debut appearance at the event. Charlie Williams will be making his fourth appearance in Osaka after missing the past three years. Williams' best finish was 3rd place in 2003, the same year Immonen lost to Bustamante in the finals. While Williams is a legitimate contender for the title, he says he will be keeping a closer eye on his protege Cha during the event.
More info on the All Japan Championships can be found at www.onthehill.jp