2017 Christmas Pool Championship:
- Men winner: Ibrah Ssejjemba
- Women Winner: Sheila Ankah
19 year old Ibrah Ssejjemba held onto his nerves to his first pool major when he triumphed in the season ending Christmas pool tournament at Rock Catalina in Ntinda.
Ssejjemba was flawless throughout the day long championship that attracted over 80 players.
Jinja based Ronz’s Sheila Ankah was the best female, coming top of the other players.
Seed one Sula Matovu and Lukia Nayiga who both won this in their respective gender categories the previous edition suffered first round exits against fellow C. K. I club mates Bwanika Mansuur and Angella Busingye respectively.
Matovu started the tourney as an outright favorite having won the championship in 2015 coming from 3-0 down to beat Fahad Ssewankambo 3-6 before defending the title last year with another 5-1 memorable comeback to vanquish Amos Ndyagumanawe 6-5 at Lumas.
Ndygumanawe had clinched the title on three past occasions, Vicky Namuyanja Vicky the 2015 Champion and Tendo Brenda were other big names who never progressed out of first round.
Ndyagumanwe fell to Musa Ssekiliba, Tracy Nambafu and Justine Nampeebwa were 3-1 winners over Vicky and Thendo respectively.
The Men’s Category registered over 80 participants but the strongest contest commenced boiling in 3rd round as Bwanika Mansuur and Ssejjemba Ibra faced off in a very offensive and nervous clash.
Ssejjemba won the tie 4-2 before outmatching Ssekiliba in a deciding frame in 4th round.
Still in 4th round, Skin Samona’s Geoffrey Ssetumba pulled off a clumsy 4:3 victory to eliminate Capital Night’s Robert Tumusiime.
Another big match on the same stage was between two Gladiators Alfred Gumikiriza against Charles Ssegawa.
Ssegawa overcame a 3-0 deficit to edge Gumikiriza 3-4 while Juma Tomusange eliminated Dan Mubiru as Simon Lubulwa ousted Ivan Kanyesigye 4-0.
In the quarterfinals, favorites Ssegawa, Lubulwa, Ssejjemba and Tomusange thoroughly outplayed their opponents to storm the next stage.
Lubulwa humbled Joseph Kasozi 5-0, Tomusange ejected Rashid Lukwago and Ssejjemba eliminated Ssetumba.
Ssegawa was 5-3 victorious over Uthman Bukenya.
Come the semi finals, Ssejjemba ejected Lubulwa 5-3 and Kasozi was 5-2 winner against Juma Tomusange.
Ssejjemba won the final match 7-4 to seal the Shs. 1.5M top prize, gold medal and the trophy while Ssegawa who had last lost a PAU final in the 2009 Independence Cup walked away with 750,000.
Lubulwa Simon after his 2015 Kampala Open triumph, Saturday made it his second PAU individual tournament semifinals appearance of his career.
He won 400,000 after completing a 5:2 rout to end as second runner- up at the expense of Tomusange who smiled with 200,000 as a semifinalist.
Meanwhile, the 32 ladies’ combat was championed by surprise package Ankah Sheila from Ronz pool club.
Sheila in her PAU first season initially showed few signs of any nerves that would befit her maiden appearance in Christmas Cup.
She defeated Nampala Priscilla 3-1 in first round before edging out Lydia Ayebazibwe 3-2 in second round.
The on- form Ankah later eliminated 2015 finalist Kajubi Jacinta 4:2 in Quarterfinals to stage a semifinal bout against Capital Night’s Tracy Nambafu.
From the other big pairs, Club Klein’s Justine Nampeebwa won C. K. I’s Angella Busingye 3-2 in second round before Nimusiime Ritah came from 3-1 down to eliminate her 4-3 in Quarterfinals.
Hotpool’s sharon Mirembe Sharon also won Nabafu Zaimati 4-2 in the other nail biting quarterfinal.
The semifinals were won 5:3 by Nimusiima against Mirembe and a 5-2 thumping of Ankah to Tracy.
The final that seemed very easy to predict was surprisingly dominated by Ankah Sheila as she went up twice before Ritah levelled in the opening four frames.
It became however unreachable for Uganda’s seed one Nimusiima as none seeded Ankah continued to move more steps ahead before ending it with a well deserved 6-2 victory.
The third place play- off was won by Mirembe Sharon with a 4:2 victory against Tracy Nambafu.
Ankah won 1M for emerging as champion while Shs. 500,000 was given to Nimusiima.
Mirembe won Shs. 250,00o.
Relatedly, national Open finalists Fahad Ssewankambo and William Busingye together with Vicky Namuyanja the pool queen champion also received their Super League pool tables won during their respective championships a few months back.
The awarding ceremony was at Rock Catalina bar during the day 2 of Christmas Cup championship.
(Additional notes by Ronald Kamya)