- Mark Williams (snooker player)
Mark Williams at the 2011 German Masters
Born March 21, 1975
Cwm, Ebbw Vale
Sport country Wales Nickname
- Welsh Potting Machine
- The Welsh Wonder
Professional 1992– Highest ranking 1 2 Career winnings UK£3,735,380 Highest break 147 (2x) Century breaks 284 Tournament wins Ranking 18 Minor-ranking 1 Non-ranking 4 World Champion 2000, 2003
Mark James Williams, MBE (born 21 March 1975, Cwm, Ebbw Vale, Wales) is a Welsh professional snooker player who has been World Champion twice, in 2000 and 2003. Often noted for his single-ball potting, he has earned the nickname, The Welsh Potting Machine. He has been ranked the world number 1 for a total of three seasons in his career.
The first left-handed player to win the World Championship, Williams has won 18 ranking tournaments (fifth on the all-time list), including the UK Championship twice, in 1999 and 2002. He has also won the Masters on two occasions, in 1998 and 2003. Williams' most successful season in his career to date was the 2002/2003 season, when he won the acclaimed treble of tournaments (known as the Triple Crown): the UK Championship, the Masters and the World Championship. He is only the third player after Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry to win all three Triple Crown events in one season. Following his second World Championship his form declined, and he dropped out of the top 16 following the 2007/2008 season, but regained his place for 2009/2010. He is one of only several players who have compiled over 200 centuries, as he has compiled over 250 century breaks, 8th on the all-time list.
- 1 Career
- 2 Playing style
- 3 Personal life
- 4 Tournament wins and career rankings
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Williams started playing snooker at an early age and scored his first century when he was 13. He won his first junior event when he was 11 and it was then that he realised that he wanted to pursue a career as a snooker player. He was encouraged to play by his father Dilwyn, who was a miner. When he was 15 he did a 12 hour shift down the mines. Williams was also a promising Amateur boxer  being undefeated in 12 fights as a schoolboy, but he decided to pursue his snooker career instead. He turned professional in 1992 and finished his first season ranked 119th, and within three seasons was ranked in the Worlds top 16, breaking into the 16 for the 1996/1997 season. Williams` first ranking tournament win came in January 1996 when he claimed the Welsh Open title, beating John Parrott 9–3 in the final. After failing to qualify for the 1996 World Championship he won the first ranking event of the new season – the Grand Prix – in October 1996, beating surprise finalist Euan Henderson 9–5 in the final. In 1997 he also won the British Open, beating Stephen Hendry 9–2 in the final. He also beat Hendry in the final to win his first Masters title in 1998, winning on the final black 10–9 after recovering from 6–9 down, in a thrilling final. At the 1997 World Championship he was drawn against Terry Griffiths, the latter's last appearance at the Crucible as a player, he eventually beating his coach 10–9 on the black but lost 8–13 to Hendry in the last-16. In 1998 World Championship he reached the semi-finals, and the next year was runner-up to Hendry.
The 1999/2000 season was a very successful one for Williams, winning both the UK Championship and the World Championship. These results, along with another ranking title and three runner-up positions, allowed him to capture the world number 1 position for the first time. In the World Championship final he came from 7–13 behind his fellow countryman, Matthew Stevens to eventually win 18–16. He also produced a notable comeback in his semi-final match against John Higgins, coming from 10–14 down to win 17–15. Williams won only one ranking event in the following season, the Grand Prix, with a 9–5 victory over Ronnie O'Sullivan in the final, but he was a runner-up in two other ranking events, the UK Championship and the China Open. This was enough to retain his number 1 ranking, although his title defence at the World Championship fell in the second round with a 12–13 defeat to Joe Swail.
In the 2001/2002 season Williams also only won one ranking tournament, as he struggled to find the form from the previous season, winning the China Open, where he defeated Anthony Hamilton 9–8 from 5–8 down in the final. However, he lost to the same player 9–13 in the second round of the World Championship and the number 1 ranking to Ronnie O'Sullivan.
Another strong performance came in 2002/2003 season when he won the UK Championship, Masters and World Championship titles. This made him only the fourth player after Hendry, Davis and John Higgins to hold these titles simultaneously, and only the third player after Davis and Hendry to have won them all in one season. These results enabled him to reclaim the number 1 spot at the of the season. In the UK Championship final he beat Ken Doherty 10–9, and in the Masters he beat Hendry 10–4, Before the 2003 World Championship he had a scare with his cue when it was damaged and badly bent on his flight with Ryanair to play in the Irish Masters, but he had it repaired before the tournament.
On his way to winning the 2003 World title, he had a relatively untroubled route to the final with wins over Stuart Pettman 10–2, Quinten Hann 13–2, Hendry 13–7 and Stephen Lee 17–8 before facing Doherty in the final. He led 10–2, and looked to be heading for and easy victory, before Doherty fought back to 16–16. Williams regained his composure under intense pressure to win the last two frames and lift the trophy for the second time.
The following season, he lost in the first round of the UK Championship to Fergal O'Brien, a match which ended his record run of 48 tournaments in which he had won his first match, His defence at the 2004 World Championship started with a 10–7 win over Dominic Dale, but he lost 11–13 in the second round to Joe Perry, and saw him endure a run of poor form over the 2004/2005 season where he slid to 9th in the world rankings for 2005/2006.
On April 20, in 2005 he became the first Welshman, and the fifth player in history to score a maximum break at the Crucible Theatre in the World Championship. This came in the final frame of a 10–1 first round victory over Robert Milkins, but he lost in the second round to Ian McCulloch 12–13, in a high quality match.
On March 26, 2006, Williams won his 16th (and first ranking event in two and a half years), the China Open in Beijing, beating Higgins 9–8 in the final. This helped him return to the top 8 in the world rankings, after a dramatic fall in the provisional rankings which saw him facing a possible drop out of the top 16. He also showed good form in the 2006 World Championship, beating Anthony Hamilton 10–1 and Mark Selby 13–8 to set up a quarter-final clash with Ronnie O'Sullivan, the first time the two had met at the Crucible. The match was given extra tension considering they had been rivals, (although O'Sullivan has since said that the former feud has been replaced by friendship and respect). In a close fought match, O'Sullivan eventually won 13–11. It was revealed during that tournament that Williams had split with coach Terry Griffiths. The two remained very close friends, but Terry would no longer be coaching him. In late 2007, Williams returned to having Griffiths as his coach.
On September 2, 2006, Williams won the Pot Black trophy, after compiling a century break (119) in the final against John Higgins. However, Williams had perhaps the worst season of his career in 2006/2007, losing his first match in a string of tournaments (including the World Championship, for the first time ever), but he retained his top 16 place, mainly through the ranking points he had earned the previous season.
His first win of the 2007/2008 season came in the Grand Prix with a 4–3 win over Ian McCulloch, but he still failed to qualify for the last 16 of the event and was outside the top 32 on the provisional ranking list.
In the UK Championship, he showed a return to some form. He beat Ricky Walden comfortably 9–3 in the last 32, and in the last 16 he faced Mark Allen who led 4–0 and 5–1. However, a cool comeback saw him win the remaining 8 frames to win 9–5. In the quarter-finals, Stephen Maguire was too strong and beat him 9–5. However, reaching the quarter-finals was a sign that Williams may be returning to form, boosted by the news that Terry Griffiths was coaching him again.
However, after a 2–6 first round loss to Ken Doherty in the Masters, Williams revealed he was considering retirement from the game, although only 32 years old, if he dropped out of the top 32 and was forced to play in all the qualifying competitions. But he also claimed at the Welsh Open at Newport that this statement had been blown out of proportion, and that he would remain a professional. He began to show more consistency for the remainder of the season, reaching the last 16 of three ranking events and a run to the quarter-finals of the China Open, but he could not reach his first semi-final for 2 years, losing 3–5 against Ryan Day. At the World Championship he defeated Mark Davis, however a 7–13 defeat to Ronnie O'Sullivan in the second round forced him out of the top 16, pushing him into the qualifiers for 2008/2009. In that match he was on the receiving end of a 147 from O'Sullivan. On 8 July 2008 it was announced that Williams had split from his management company 110 Sport, following O'Sullivan and Stephen Maguire.
In 2008/2009 he reached the quarter-finals of the Shanghai Masters and UK Championship, but also suffered three qualifying defeats. The UK Championship particularly saw some return to form as he beat Mark Selby and Graeme Dott 9–7, before losing narrowly 8–9 to Ali Carter. He also qualified for the World Championship but lost 7–10 to Stephen Hendry after leading 7–5. During the end of the match he suffered some trouble with his tip. However, he had done enough to return to the top 16 at the end of the season.
The 2009/2010 season started badly however when Williams broke his wrist in a fall at home, less than a month before the first ranking event of the season, the Shanghai Masters. Despite this injury he played in Shanghai, wearing a cast on his wrist because removal of the cast could have caused long term damage. There he won his first round match against Joe Swail 5–3, but lost in the next round against John Higgins 1–5. In the Grand Prix he secured wins over Stuart Bingham, Stephen Hendry and Robert Milkins on his way to the semi-finals but despite racking up a 142 (the highest break of the tournament) in the first frame against Ding Junhui, he lost 1–6.
In the UK Championship he lead Graeme Dott 6–2, before Dott retired due to illness and thus winning the match 9–2. After this he lost his next match against Peter Lines 8–9. At the Masters he won his wild card round match, beating Rory McLeod 6–2. Then he won his first round match against Ali Carter 6–3 to progress to the quarter-finals of the event, despite being involved in a traffic accident the day before his match against Carter. It was reported that a car drove into the back of the 4x4 his sponsors had lent him, which was carrying Williams and Stephen Hendry to a restaurant. In the quarter-finals he defeated Shaun Murphy 6–4, but eventually lost a high quality match in the semi-finals 5–6 against Ronnie O'Sullivan. In the Welsh Open, he reached the quarter-finals, beating Fergal O'Brien 5–2, Andrew Higginson 5–0 before losing against Stephen Maguire 1–5.
After these signs of form, in April 2010 he won his first ranking tournament in four years – the China Open. On his way he beat Jamie Cope 5–3, the then reigning world champion John Higgins 5–2, Marco Fu 5–1 and Ali Carter 6–4, setting up a clash with Ding Junhui in the final. Trailing 3–5 at one point, Williams eventually won the match 10–6. This was Williams' 17th ranking event win and his 3rd China Open. After his victory Williams said: "I'm over the moon to win again. It's been a long time coming but I've kept working hard and I felt that in the end the results would come."
Williams opened the season by winning the first event of the Players Tour Championship by defeating Stephen Maguire 4–0 in the final, a new addition to the snooker calendar introduced by Barry Hearn, a series of events that Williams has supported. Williams finished 6th on the Players Tour Championship Order of Merit.
In the Shanghai Masters Williams won his first round match against Ricky Walden 5–3, but lost narrowly in the second round against Graeme Dott 4–5. He than reached the semi-finals of the World Open, where he lost 2–3 against eventual winner Neil Robertson.
He was selected to compete in the 2010 Premier League, due to his success from the previous season, the first time he has competed in the event for five years, but failed to reach the semi-finals. At the UK Championship he reached the final, his run including a 9–8 victory over Shaun Murphy after trailing 6–8, but lost against John Higgins 9–10 in the final, after leading 7–2 and 9–5 at some points of the match. Williams' next tournament was the Masters, where he lost 4–6 in the first round against Ding Junhui. Williams won the first ranking event of 2011, the German Masters, by defeating Mark Selby 9–7 in the final. At the China Open Williams couldn't defend his title, as he lost in the first round 4–5 against Stephen Lee, despite making four centuries.
At the 2011 World Snooker Championship, Williams defeated Ryan Day 10–5 in the first round, and Jamie Cope 13–5 in the second round. He then won his quarter-final against Mark Allen by the same scoreline, and in doing so he reached the semi-final stage for the first time since 2003, but lost 14–17 against John Higgins. As a result of Selby's exit from the tournament Williams became the new world number one after the event.
At the World Cup Williams was partnered with Matthew Stevens to represent Wales, and they reached the semi-finals, but lost 1–4 against China. Williams then reached the final of the Australian Goldfields Open, but lost 8–9 against Stuart Bingham, after leading 8–5 at one point of the match. Williams also lost from in front in the final of the next major ranking event, the Shanghai Masters. His run to the final included a 6–5 win over Neil Robertson in the semi-final, and he led Mark Selby 9–7 in the final, but lost the last three frames to lose 9–10.
Williams is believed by some snooker pundits to be one of the greatest long potters in the game. He has compiled over 250 competitive centuries during his career, eighth on the all-time list of century makers, despite a tendency to play exhibition shots when a frame is won. He is also well known for his ability to win scrappy frames with his tactical play and picking out shot to nothings.
An unorthodox aspect of his style is a tendency to play his cue directly underneath his body instead of using the rest, which he often does when a frame is won. He is partially colour-blind and has difficulty distinguishing between the red and brown balls, once even potting a brown ball believing it to be a red ball.
Williams is also a keen poker player. He is proud of his Welsh heritage, and has a tattoo depicting the Welsh Dragon eating the English flag. He and his fiancée Joanne have two sons: Connor (born April 2004), and Kian (born 2007). Williams is good friends with Matthew Stevens and Stephen Hendry, as well as boxer Joe Calzaghe. Williams was awarded an MBE in June 2004.
Tournament wins and career rankings
Season Ranking 1993/94 119 1994/95 58 1995/96 39 1996/97 16 1997/98 4 1998/99 5 1999/00 3 2000/01 1 2001/02 1 2002/03 2 2003/04 1 2004/05 2 2005/06 9 2006/07 8 2007/08 12 2008/09 22 2009/10 15 2010/11 8 2011/12 1
Ranking event finals: 28 (18 titles, 10 runner-ups)
Legend World Championship (2–1) UK Championship (2–2) Other (14–6) Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score Ref. Winner 1. 1996 Welsh Open John Parrott 9–3  Winner 2. 1996 Grand Prix Euan Henderson 9–5  Winner 3. 1997 British Open Stephen Hendry 9–2  Winner 4. 1998 Irish Open Alan McManus 9–4  Winner 5. 1999 Welsh Open (2) Stephen Hendry 9–8  Winner 6. 1999 Thailand Masters Alan McManus 9–7  Runner-up 1. 1999 World Snooker Championship Stephen Hendry 11–18  Runner-up 2. 1999 Grand Prix John Higgins 8–9  Winner 7. 1999 UK Championship Matthew Stevens 10–8  Winner 8. 2000 Thailand Masters (2) Stephen Hendry 9–5  Winner 9. 2000 World Snooker Championship Matthew Stevens 18–16  Runner-up 3. 2000 Malta Grand Prix Ken Doherty 3–9  Winner 10. 2000 Grand Prix (2) Ronnie O'Sullivan 9–5  Runner-up 4. 2000 Scottish Open Ronnie O'Sullivan 1–9  Runner-up 5. 2000 UK Championship John Higgins 4–10  Runner-up 6. 2000 China Open Ronnie O'Sullivan 3–9  Winner 11. 2002 China Open Anthony Hamilton 9–8  Winner 12. 2002 Thailand Masters (3) Stephen Lee 9–4  Winner 13. 2002 UK Championship (2) Ken Doherty 10–9  Runner-up 7. 2003 Welsh Open Stephen Hendry 5–9  Winner 14. 2003 World Snooker Championship (2) Ken Doherty 18–16  Winner 15. 2003 LG Cup (3) John Higgins 9–5  Winner 16. 2006 China Open (2) John Higgins 9–8  Winner 17. 2010 China Open (3) Ding Junhui 10–6  Runner-up 8. 2010 UK Championship (2) John Higgins 9–10  Winner 18. 2011 German Masters Mark Selby 9–7  Runner-up 9. 2011 Australian Goldfields Open Stuart Bingham 8–9  Runner-up 10. 2011 Shanghai Masters Mark Selby 9–10 
Non-ranking event finals: 13 (4 titles, 9 runner-ups)
Legend Masters (2–1) Premier League (0–3) Other (2–5) Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score Ref. Winner 1. 1994 Benson & Hedges Championship Rod Lawler 9–5  Winner 2. 1998 Masters Stephen Hendry 10–9  Runner-up 1. 1998 German Masters John Parrott 4–6  Runner-up 2. 1999 Champions Cup Stephen Hendry 5–7  Runner-up 3. 2000 Champions Cup (2) Ronnie O'Sullivan 5–7  Runner-up 4. 2000 Premier League Snooker Stephen Hendry 5–9  Runner-up 5. 2001 Malta Grand Prix Stephen Hendry 1–7  Runner-up 6. 2001 Champions Cup (3) John Higgins 4–7  Runner-up 7. 2002 Masters Paul Hunter 9–10  Winner 3. 2003 Masters (2) Stephen Hendry 10–4  Runner-up 8. 2003 Premier League Snooker (2) Marco Fu 5–9  Runner-up 9. 2005 Premier League Snooker (3) Ronnie O'Sullivan 0–6  Winner 4. 2006 Pot Black John Higgins 1–0 
Minor-ranking event finals: 1 (1 title)
Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score Ref. Winner 1. 2010 Players Tour Championship – Event 1 Stephen Maguire 4–0 
Pro-am event finals: 1 (1 title)
Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score Ref. Winner 1. 2010 Finnish Snooker Challenge Robin Hull 6–1 
Team finals: 2 (1 title, 1 runner-up)
Outcome No. Year Championship Opponents in the final Score Ref. Winner 1. 1999 Nations Cup (with team Wales) Scotland 6–4  Runner-up 1. 2000 Nations Cup (with team Wales) England 4–6 
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- ^ "Mark Williams: Hendon Mob Poker Database". The Hendon Mob. 2008. http://pokerdb.thehendonmob.com/player.php?a=r&n=28016. Retrieved 5 March 2008.
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- ^ "Williams Keeps Calzaghe Friendship Outside The Ropes". World Snooker. http://www.worldsnooker.com/celebrity_fans(Williams_Keeps_Calzaghe_Friendship_Outside_The_Ropes)-2178.htm. Retrieved 30 June 2010.
- ^ "MBE joy for Williams". BBC Sport. 11 June 2004. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/wales/3798165.stm. Retrieved 30 April 2007.
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- ^ a b c d Turner, Chris. "Professional Players Tournament, Grand Prix, LG Cup". cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Chris Turner's Snooker Archive. http://www.cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/GP.html. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
- ^ Turner, Chris. "British Open (including British Gold Cup, Yamaha Organs Trophy and Yamaha International Masters)". cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Chris Turner's Snooker Archive. http://www.cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/brit.html. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
- ^ a b c Turner, Chris. "Major European Tournaments". cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Chris Turner's Snooker Archvie. http://www.cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/Euro.html. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
- ^ a b c Turner, Chris. "Thailand Open, Thailand Classic, Thailand Masters". cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Chri Turner's Snooker Archive. http://www.cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/Thai.html. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
- ^ a b c Turner, Chris. "World Professional Championship". cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Chris Turner's Snooker Archive. http://www.cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/world.html. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
- ^ a b c d Turner, Chris. "UK Championship". cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Chris Turner's Snooker Archive. http://www.cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/uk.html. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
- ^ a b Turner, Chris. "Malta Grand Prix, Malta Cup". cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Chris Turner's Snooker Archive. http://www.cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/Malta.html. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
- ^ Turner, Chris. "Scottish Open". cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Chris Turner's Snooker Archive. http://www.cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/scotopen.html. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- ^ a b c d e Turner, Chris. "Major Snooker Events in China". cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Chris Turner's Snooker Archvie. http://www.cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/China.html. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
- ^ Turner, Chris. "Benson & Hedges Championship, Masters Qualifying Tournament". cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Chris Turner's Snooker Archive. http://www.cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/masqual.html. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
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- ^ a b c Turner, Chris. "Liverpool Victoria Charity Challenge, Champions Sup". cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Chris Turner's Snooker Archive. http://www.cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/champcup.html. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- ^ a b c Turner, Chris. "Premier / Matchroom League". cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Chris Turner's Snooker Archvie. http://www.cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/league.html. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
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- ^ "Finnish Snooker Challenge". top-snooker.com. Top Snooker. http://top-snooker.com/news/701. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
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- "Mark Williams (snooker player)". WorldSnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. 2007–2010 [copyright date]. "Players Alphabetical" section. http://www.worldsnooker.com/page/PlayersAlphabeticalArticle/0,,13165~2237419,00.html. Official WPBSA player profile.
- Mark Williams – results & statistics at CueTracker.net
- Profile on Global Snooker
- Profile on WWW Snooker
- Profile on Pro Snooker Blog
- Profile on BBC Wales
- YouTube: Mark Williams 147 at the 2005 World Championship
World Snooker Champions The early years1927–1940 Joe Davis Post-War to decline Professional Matchplay Championship1952–56 Fred Davis · 1957 John Pulman Challenge matches1964–68 John Pulman The modern era (pre-Crucible) The Crucible Theatre1977 John Spencer · 1978 Ray Reardon · 1979 Terry Griffiths · 1980 Cliff Thorburn · 1981 Steve Davis · 1982 Alex Higgins · 1983–84 Steve Davis · 1985 Dennis Taylor · 1986 Joe Johnson · 1987–89 Steve Davis · 1990 Stephen Hendry · 1991 John Parrott · 1992–96 Stephen Hendry · 1997 Ken Doherty · 1998 John Higgins · 1999 Stephen Hendry · 2000 Mark Williams · 2001 Ronnie O'Sullivan · 2002 Peter Ebdon · 2003 Mark Williams · 2004 Ronnie O'Sullivan · 2005 Shaun Murphy · 2006 Graeme Dott · 2007 John Higgins · 2008 Ronnie O'Sullivan · 2009 John Higgins · 2010 Neil Robertson · 2011 John Higgins World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association World Number Ones Current No. 1 in bold WPBSA · Top sixteen snooker players after the Antwerp Open Player of the year by the Snooker Writers Association(1983) Steve Davis · (1984) Steve Davis · (1985) Dennis Taylor · (1986) Steve Davis/Joe Johnson · (1987) Steve Davis · (1988) Steve Davis · (1989) Steve Davis · (1990) Stephen Hendry · (1991) Stephen Hendry · (1992) Stephen Hendry · (1993) Stephen Hendry · (1994) Ronnie O'Sullivan · (1995) Stephen Hendry · (1996) Stephen Hendry · (1997) Stephen Hendry · (1998) John Higgins · (1999) John Higgins · (2000) Mark Williams · (2001) Ronnie O'Sullivan · (2002) Peter Ebdon · (2003) Mark Williams · (2004) Ronnie O'Sullivan · (2005) Ronnie O'Sullivan · (2006) John Higgins · (2007) Neil Robertson · (2008) Ronnie O'Sullivan
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