Patricia Ontong, four-time trial snooker champion and two-time Free State snooker champion defies all odds when it comes to playing snooker. A woman participant in this sport is very rare and the lack of female players gave her the opportunity to try it. She fell in love with snooker right away.
“I started playing snooker in 2014 and when I was introduced to the sport there was only one female playing. I thought I would give it a try, this was when I realised how much I like it,” she said. Ontong told Bloemfontein Courant that it started as a hobby. “I would never have imagined I would actually win any type of award.”
Ontong received Protea colours in 2016 and represented the country at the World Snooker Championships in Doha, Qatar. She said, “One thing for sure, is that it is very different and very difficult playing internationally. It is really very different from playing for the Free State. I have always felt there is never anyone better than yourself, and the fact that I was able to represent the country, to me meant that I was good enough.
” Being a mother of three and working a nine-to-five job makes it very difficult to practise every day. She takes about two to three hours a week to practise at the weekly competitions at Tempe. During the league competitions, men and women play against each other, and even when this happens, Ontong wins, so being a female does not stop her from beating men in snooker. She is the Free State co-ordinator and representative. She is also the only snooker player on board, as the rest of the players are pool players.
She proudly added, “Snooker started as my hobby, but this hobby has turned into something great and I have achieved a lot in the five years I have been doing it.” She would like to introduce more females to snooker and show them that snooker is not just a male sport.
For more information about how you can start playing snooker, you can send a message on Ontong’s Facebook page.