Three-year-old Wang Wuka is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to playing snooker, despite being so small that he stands on a box or stool to reach the table.
Wang's father Wang Yin is a big snooker fan and has been teaching his son the skills of the game for more than two years. The boy now does five hours of training a day, and vows to become a top snooker player.
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"During my interview with the Wang family, I could see that the father had great ambitions for his son."
My understanding of snooker starts with top world players like China’s Ding Junhui, or Britain’s Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O’Sullivan.
But recently, people are starting to pay attention to a new talent - a three-year-old player in China’s Anhui province. After a video of him playing showed up on the Internet, some called him a “Snooker Wonder Child”, others wrote he was the, “next O’Sullivan”. I wanted to find out how great this kid was.
Wang Wuka’s home is in a rural area on the edge of a small city. His father, Wang Yin, just turned 30 and mainly supports his family by selling miniature pot plants and tree trunks. Away from work, Wang Yin’s favourite hobby is snooker, and he has a table at home. A few years ago, Yin met his wife Huang online. They soon got married and Huang gave birth to Wuka, or Kaka, as he is called by his family.
“In the beginning, Kaka liked to crawl around on the pool table.” Yin said. “When he was one year old, I made him a small cue and slowly taught him how to play pool on a smaller eight-ball table. When he reached two, he could hit nearly all the shots on the eight-ball table, therefore I started teaching him snooker.”
“I’m definitely surprised, I think he is gifted,” his father told me.
Nowadays, Wuka keeps the following schedule: he gets up at 6 a.m., then practices for an hour; after breakfast, he practices from 8 to 10 a.m.; in the afternoon, he has another two-hour training session starting at 2:30 p.m.; and occasionally he has some extra training time in the evening.
During my interview with the Wang family, I could see that the father had great ambitions for his son. Wuka is still so small that he has to stand on a 15-inch-high (38 cm) box to shoot.
“Now, Kaka is still in the early stages, we (are) mainly working on his precision. The next step will (be) practicing positioning. I will sign him up for teenager snooker competitions, hoping he can be successful in the future,” Yin said.
In some ways, Wuka is just like any other three-year-old kid. He likes playing snooker, but he is also interested in other activities, and sometimes he complains during training.
The little boy has actually played snooker against seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry, and the British player commented that Wuka is still very young. At this early stage, his parents should try to manage his interest in the game. I can see that Wuka is talented, but at such a young age, he could lose his passion easily. Perhaps his parents, or whoever trains him in the future, should make sure that he has enough freedom to keep him interested in coming back to the table.
Of course, when it comes to raising children, everyone has their own opinions and no one is 100 percent right or wrong. After Wuka became an Internet sensation, some sports public relations companies showed up, hoping to manage the boy’s career. No one knows what could happen to this gifted child in the future, but I will continue to keep a lookout for him.