Faith helped Shaun scoop world crown
2005: Snooker world champion Shaun Murphy believes that his strong Christian faith helped him record his shock title win in 2005.
The 22-year-old was a 150-1 outsider when he qualified for the championship at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.
But he went on to beat three former world champions and defied all odds to land the title, coming back from 10 frames to 6 down against Matthew Stevens in the final to win by 18 – 16.
Shaun pointed to his religious beliefs as an important factor in reaching the top. He said: "I started going to a church in Weston-super-Mare about six years ago and it touched something deep inside me.
"I liked everything I heard and it's given me something to believe in. It helps me focus more than anything."
Most people outside of snooker had never heard of Shaun before the world championship began and even snooker insiders were surprised to see his name on this year's trophy.
Shaun himself seemed so calm throughout the championship and in the aftermath of victory, it was almost as if he had been supremely confident although he admitted that at times he had been "shaking like a leaf".
But the devout Christian, who prays in his dressing room before matches, also credits his faith with helping him to stay relaxed and positive.
"It helps me focus more. It gets me concentrated in the right frame of mind. I went out there with a real belief that I had a good chance of winning," he said.
His £250,000 prize-money contrasted sharply to his previous best of £15,000 when he made the first round at Sheffield in 2003.
Murphy used some of the money on a new car and to pay for his honeymoon when he married his girlfriend, Clare, in July. He also gave some of the money to New Life church which he attends.
But life has not always been easy for Shaun, who was playing snooker at a high level by the age 13. One day he arrived home from school with a bloodied nose, the culmination of months of bullying.
"Some of the older boys objected to my fame in the newspapers and on local television," he said.
"They could not deal with it. The bullying made life very difficult but it added to the fire in my belly. Snooker was my way of showing those that gave me a hard time that I would not allow any obstacles to stand in my way."
As Shaun reminds himself on a daily basis, quoting from the Bible and in Mark 9, verse 23: "All things are possible to him who believes."
Story by Keith Morris
Pictured above is Shaun Murphy with his championship trophy in Sheffield. Picture courtesy of EDP