Title-chasing Higgins in hall of f(r)ame

John Higgins (picture by Robert Perry)
John Higgins (picture by Robert Perry)
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Four-time world snooker champion John Higgins thinks he has it in him to win a fifth crown in Scheffield’s Crucible Theatre on May 1.

The 41-year-old – nicknamed the Wizard of Wishaw – was speaking after being named as one of the sporting greats inducted into the inaugural North Lanarkshire Council Hall of Fame at Motherwell’s Ravenscraig Sports Facility.

“I’d love there to be another world championship win in me,” said Higgins, who has won over £6 million in prize money in a glorious 25-year professional snooker career.

“Obviously, if there wasn’t, that’s just the way life is.

“It’s getting harder as I get older, obviously, but I’ll still be going there this year with a little bit of confidence.

“If I could hit my game for a couple of weeks I could win another one, but it’s tough nowadays.

“I think the standard throughout the whole tour now is a lot higher.

“I know people maybe still say Stephen Hendry produced performances that are only matched a couple of times nowadays but you need to look at the whole standard.

“When you look at somebody ranked down in the 50s or 60s, they can blow you away now. That never used to be the case maybe 20 years ago when I was coming through. If you played someone 50 or 60 back then, you would have to play really badly to lose the game.

“Nowadays, you don’t have to play that badly and these guys are coming through and beating you.”

Higgins, Hendry and Graeme Dott are three Scots snooker greats who have become world champions over the years. And Higgins said the pro gamme in this country could have a rosy future ahead.

“We have got some good young Scottish boys coming through,” added the man who has made eight 147 breaks in his pro career.

“It’s tough just now. The youngsters coming through from the Far East are taking over just now because there are so many more of them playing the sport.

“But, hopefully, we can get more Scottish players making their mark, given the great talent that Scotland has produced.”

Higgins finished by outlining his pride at being one of the Sports Hall of Fame inductees.

“It’s unbelievable for me to be in the Sports Hall of Fame,” he said. “There are some incredible inductees like Sir Matt Busby and the Lisbon Lions and it’s amazing for me to be alongside these legends.”

Also among those honoured were judo sisters Kimberley and Louise Renicks, both gold medallists at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Kimberley said she was very impressed by the plush, informative plaques showing off picture profiles of all the recipients which now adorn an interior wall at Ravenscraig.

“It’s really impressive to be in the Hall of Fame,” said Kimberley, who now has retired competitor Louise as her personal coach.

“It’s a bit overwhelming when you look around at some of the legends in the first one, and me and my sister have made it.

“But it’s good to recognise how much talent has come out of North Lanarkshire.

“Over many years, many younger generations are going to come through and add to this Hall of Fame.”

Kimberley, who has suffered injury problems which required a double operation in recent times, is just about to embark upon a comeback which she hopes will culminate in her qualifying for this year’s World Judo Championships in Hungary.

“I want a world medal under my belt,” Kimberley said. “I’ve been training hard for five hours a day, Monday to Friday.

“There’s a lot of travelling back and forward to different training centres, but it is worth it.”