Phil Haigh ✍️
Mark Allen has lost almost four stone after a lot of hard work over the summer and plans to lose more weight as his dieting continues, which all stemmed from a chat with Ronnie O’Sullivan in Sheffield.
The Pistol has been on a strict diet since May and has seen excellent results, shedding a huge amount of weight and feeling much better for it.
The world number 14 wants to keep going in the same direction and is aiming to lose another two stone by the British Open next month.
While it was something he was aware he needed to do beforehand, it was a conversation with O’Sullivan after their World Championship match in April that helped kick Allen into action.
The Rocket beat the Pistol 13-4 in the second round in Sheffield, but far from just shaking hands and going their separate ways, they had a lengthy chat back at the hotel and it has helped Allen with his impressive weight loss over a long summer, which saw him take 11 weeks off playing snooker.
‘I had a good chat with O’Sullivan after we played in Sheffield,’ Allen told Metro.co.uk. ‘I sat in his hotel room for about an hour, talking about snooker and all sorts of things, he really helped me, it was good.
‘He gave me a few pointers. For my health more than anything just to lose some weight, if it helps your snooker so be it, but if it doesn’t it will help your mindset off the table, you’ll be better round your family, round your daughter and he was absolutely right.
‘I feel like that has changed my priorities over the summer and maybe why I took such a long break.
‘Everything he said has stood me in good stead and I’ve been working hard on it, and hopefully it’ll reap rewards on the table as well.’
It may be something of a surprise that O’Sullivan and Allen were chatting away for 60 minutes in a hotel room after their memorable clash at the Champion of Champions in 2020.
The Northern Irishman says that is all forgotten though, heat of the battle stuff, and he was really appreciative of the advice the Rocket gave him in Sheffield.
‘I’m not going to say anything about that, because whenever I’m out there I’m fiery, I want to kill people on the table,’ Allen said of the heated exchange from a couple of years ago.
‘But whenever it’s said and done, you walk away and you’re professional sportspeople. You go through similar things that people don’t realise.
‘So I had a good chat with Ronnie, sat in his hotel room for about an hour after the match. It was really good, he really opened up and I told him things that were personal to me. It was good, I really appreciated it.
‘Obviously someone like Ronnie doesn’t have to give anyone the time of day, he’s a busy man, I really appreciated that.
‘I wished him the best for the rest of the event, and I really took on board what he gave me.’
Allen explained that it has mainly been cutting down on food that has helped the pounds disappear and staying disciplined is no easy task.
‘Just really, really watching what I’m eating,’ he said. ‘Cut down portions, just really retraining my brain, get in a different mindset and hardly eating anything.
‘It’s coming up on four stone I’ve lost, so we’re going in the right direction, but I’d love to get another couple of stone off before the British Open, that would be great.
‘I’ve been trying hard, it’s been tough, a lot harder than I thought it would be but it’s something I’ve been needing to do.’
The loss to O’Sullivan which produced the life-changing conversation for Allen was another disappointing result for the Pistol in South Yorkshire.
A run to the semi-finals in 2009 remains his best result at the Crucible and he has only been to one quarter-final in the last 11 years.
He expects much more of himself on the sport’s biggest stage and is hoping that getting into shape will help him fulfil his potential at the World Championship.
‘I expect to do well myself, you get one chance a year and unfortunately I haven’t done it yet,’ he said.
‘I have aspirations of doing it, I know I’ve got the game, I’ve beat every player in the game over a decent length of format, so Sheffield shouldn’t be any different.
‘I think losing weight and being mentally fitter should help me in the long run, I think that’s something that’s been against me in the past.
‘You look at the ones that have done well in Sheffield consistently, none of them are overweight or have the issues I have. That’s something I have to work on and I have been working on lately.’
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