Recently Joy Willenberg, 31, won the Classics round at the South African Snooker Championships held at Naran’s Snooker Club in Lansdowne.
She beat her opponent, Nicola Rossouw, in the first Classics event, but lost to the same opponent in the final round.
Joy first started playing Cue Sports in 2012 along with her older brother Alvin, 38.
They joined the Snooker League and she was approached by Hitesh Naran, the owner of the club, who told her she was talented.
“He encouraged me to go for championships,” Joy says.
Naran mentored Joy and just two years later she qualified for her first national championship and has since bagged several titles.
But he never got to see his prodigy flourish. In 2015, Naran fell ill and died in hospital.
Joy says: “On the weekend of the championships in August, I was not playing very well and I struggled on the Friday.
“But the Saturday was a big day because it was the three-year anniversary of Naran’s death.
“So I played in honour of him and won the classics tournament and I beat Nicola.”
This is Joy’s second Classics title and she received her South African colours.
The young woman, who works in sales, says her life-long dream is to play professionally, but says sponsorship is hard to come by in Cue Sports.
“I play pool and snooker and earlier in the year I played in China. I had a tough draw against pro nine-ball players, but it was an amazing experience.”
In November, she will be jetting off to the UK where she will represent South Africa in the 2018 Blackball International World Championships.
She says while her flights to the UK are paid for, she now has to raise R10 000 for flights to Johannesburg, visa costs and meals.
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