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Former world amateur billiards champion Joe Grech dies aged 66

Maltese sport was shocked on Saturday by the news of the death of former world amateur billiards champion Ġużi Grech at the age of 66.

The Malta Billiards and Snooker Association issued a statement to pay tribute to veteran snooker and billiards champion.

“The Malta Billiards and Snooker Association announces the death of former Maltese Snooker Player Guzi Grech,” the MBSA said in a statement.

“During the years, Guzi won several honours including the Maltese National Snooker Champion x6, World Billiards Champion, European Mens Team Champion and European Over 40s Mens Team Champion.

“The Association sends its condolences to Guzi’s family in these difficult times.”

Grech was one of the best snooker and billiards players this country has ever seen.

In fact, Grech was one of a kind in the sense that he was successful in both snooker and billiards since the mid-1970s and has represented Malta in the amateur as well as the professional circuit of world snooker.

In fact, Grech was crowned national champion six times and dominated the billiards scene for many years.

The Ħamrun-born cueist was known for his break-building in the game of billiards and he highlighted his talents in the 1987 world championship when he managed to register 42 century breaks – 16 of them over 200, nine over 300 and four over 400 – in what he described as one of his best ever performances.

Unfortunately, that was not enough for win to lift the trophy as he was beaten by Geet Sethi, of India, in the final.

The highlight of his billiard career arrived in 1997 when he was crowned as the world’s amateur billiards champion when he beat Ashok Shandilya 2,895-2,836 in the final played in Malta.

Grech also managed to win the European Teams Snooker Championship in 2005 when he teamed up with Alex Borg and Simon Zammit and the European Masters title in 2011.

In 2017, the Maltese Olympic Committee inducted Grech in its Hall of Fame for his achievements and contribution to Maltese sport.

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