PRESS RELEASE Canberra 4 August 2008 For immediate release
For attention: General News, Sports, Features, Chess and Bridge columns
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Australian teenager becomes professional Go player in China.
A 14 year old Australian girl has defied the odds to win a coveted position among the ranks of professional Go players in China. Go, or Weiqi, as it is known in China, is an ancient strategy game with similarities to Chess. In the official qualifying tournament in Hangzhou which ended in late July, Joanne Missingham faced fierce competition from all over China as players battled for one of only two places offered by the Chinese Weiqi Association each year.
Although Go is not widely known in the western world, it is big business in Asia. Several years ago one of the world’s top professional players, Lee Changho of Korea, amassed sponsorship and tournament winnings exceeding ten million US dollars. Professional players compete in domestic and international tournaments. There are also television stations dedicated to the game.
Australian Go Association President, John Hardy, described Brisbane born Joanne's achievement as extraordinary. “Remember in 2006 how underdog Marcos Baghdatis from Cyprus fought his way to the final of the Australian Open? Joanne's achievement must seem like that to the Chinese.” Joanne is the first Australian to become a professional Go player. She has already been selected to represent Australia in the 1st World Mind Sports Games, which will be held in Beijing shortly after the Olympics.
If you do not see the photos or wish to download them use the links below
Joanne Missingham thinks about her next move
Joanne Missingham (seated, right) watches calmly as her game is scored
Neville Smythe, Secretary Australian Go Association
Tel: 0414517719 or (02) 6232 -7277
Australian Go players to compete in Beijing (Press Release)
World Mind Sports Games website
http://www.2008wmsg.org/ (click on the English version)
International Mind Sports Association
International Go Federation web site
Australian Go Association web site
What is Go?