Snooker tourney starts this week in Beijing

Updated: 2015-03-29 21:55

By Sun Xiaochen(

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The 2015 China Open, a professional snooker world ranking tournament, will take place from March 30 to April 5 with 64 elite players from around the world competing for the prestigious title in Beijing, organizers announced on Sunday.

The tournament, the 10th ranking event of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association's 2014-15 season, will feature a strong 64-seed roster, including defending champion Ding Junhui, current world No 1 Mark Selby of Britain, the tournament's 2013 champion, Neil Robertson of Australia and Britain's fan favorite, Judd Trump, competing at the main draw tournament held at Beijing University Students' Gymnasium.

Four other Chinese players, including Liang Wenbo and Yu Delu, also joined Ding in the main draw through rankings, while five young Chinese hopefuls will compete in the qualification round for four wildcard entries.

Sponsored by BAIC Motor and Beijing International Trust Co. Ltd., the tournament offers lucrative champion prize money of approximately $126,000 to motivate the players.

Ding, China's snooker prodigy who finished the 2013-14 season with a record of winning five ranking event titles in one season, has struggled recently at international events with a series of early eliminations.

Ding said he expects to regain his form at the China Open for the rest of the season.

"I've never given up my dream to be the world's No 1 since starting my career, and I've been working hard to progress to that goal over the past decade. I definitely want to deliver another good result in front of home fans in Beijing," Ding said at the tournament launching ceremony held at the National Stadium on Sunday.

Robertson, who lost to Ding in the final last year, said he will try to perform better than last year and hopes that in the next couple of years he can play many more finals against Ding.

Thanks to snooker's increasing popularity in the Asia-Pacific region, including China, the world governing body has been trying to promote the sport to be included in the Olympic Games by 2020, said Jason Ferguson, chairman of the WPBSA.

To allow more fans to enjoy the game live, the organizer set a wide range of ticket prices, from 20 yuan ($3.20) to 2,015 yuan. Tickets for high-demand first-round matches featuring popular players like Ding and Trump are almost sold out.

Organized and promoted by Beijing-based InterSports Co. Ltd, the China Open has evolved into a renowned brand in the sports entertainment market in Beijing while promoting snooker into a highly-participated event among amateurs.