South African ladies 8-ball champion and the SA ladies snooker champion Amy-Claire King practices at a pool pub in Endenvale to prepare for the upcoming world champs in June Picture:Paballo Thekiso

Sameer Naik

Amy-Claire King is living proof that hard work and determination does pay off.

In less than a month’s time, the 21-year-old will travel to Blackpool in England to represent South Africa in the World Eightball Pool Championships.

Having recently been crowned SA Ladies Eightball Pool champion, King is hoping to add another trophy to her cabinet when she competes in the UK.

She is not, however, the only South African who will be representing SA in the tournament. King will be joined by five other women and six men.

The Boksburg-born pool champ will come up against some of the world’s best female pool players, such as 10 times ladies world pool champion Sue Thompson. King and her fellow team mates will play in a group tournament and a singles tournament.

She knows it will be difficult, but King is confident she can make South Africa proud.

“I’m very nervous for the tournament, but it’s always good to have nerves,” said King. “I have waited all my life to participate in an eight ball world championship and my time has finally arrived. I feel ready.”

King attributed her success to the hard work and dedication she puts in on a daily basis.

As young as she is, King has already accumulated over 50 trophies, represented her country several times, and is also an Eastern Gauteng regional champion. Should she win the World Eightball Pool Championships next month, she will also become the first SA women achieve it.

“It will be truly amazing if I can win the singles tournament,” said King. “No South African lady has ever done it so it will be a massive achievement. Of course it will be difficult but I am certainly ready for the challenge.”

King is also one of the youngest women to represent South Africa in a world eightball pool championship. However, it’s not age that matters when it comes to winning a trophy, according to King.

“Like any other sport, it takes hard work, dedication and commitment. I have worked extremely hard to get where I am,” said King.

“The key to being a good pool player is to have a great technique; that is why I practise every day for three hours so that I can perfect my technique.”

She has been practising her technique since she was eight years old.

“I started up pool when I was a very young girl. I was at a braai one day at a friend’s place and they happened to have a pool table at their house. I decided to give it a go, and found out that I wasn’t too bad at it. Everyone urged me to go for lessons, and that’s when I began taking pool seriously. The rest is history.”

King went on to represent Eastern Gauteng at the age of 13, and ever since than has never looked back.

“I have always dreamt of becoming a professional pool player; I feel that I am half way there. If I am to win the world champs it will certainly boost my chances of playing professional one day.

Should King want to become a professional pool player, she will have to move overseas as SA doesn’t have pro pool players.

“If all things go well, I hope I can make a move to the US where I can take up pool professionally.”

King will also have to fork out over R20 000 to play in the World Champs, as Team South Africa does not have any sponsors and the government does not fund pool players.

“We are not well recognised for the hard work we put in. It’s very unfortunate that the government does not fund us for our trips overseas. On many occasions some of our best pool players have had to sit at home because they can’t afford to go overseas; it’s really terrible.”

King is hoping that the government will come on board and assist them with funding.

“Even if we manage to get a sponsor it will make the world of difference.”

King’s mother Sue said she was very proud of her daughter.

King will be in the UK for two weeks to compete in the World Champs before heading off to Egypt in November to compete in another major pool tournament.