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Chinese revolution

by U13515692 07 October 2008
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Snooker has gone big time - Beijing style.

Not long ago, the ranking event was treated to an opening ceremony where the players were paraded like Oscar nominees.

The popularity has been propelled in no small measure by the emergence of Ding, who started the season ranked 27 in the world but is now established in the top 10.

Who's to say we won't see eight players from China at The Crucible in the future?

Ding has already won three ranking tournaments including the sport's second biggest, the UK Championship, and his triumph in the 2005 China Open was watched by an estimated 110m in his homeland.

In recent seasons, he and 30-year-old Marco Fu of Hong Kong, who won the 2007 Grand Prix, have led the South Asian contingent, but this year the pair have been joined by two more Chinese at The Crucible - Liu Chuang and Liang Wenbo.

It is the first time a country outside the British Isles has been represented by that number of players.

Six-time world champion and BBC analyst Steve Davis believes that figure will grow in the next few years.

"Seeing four or so Chinese players in ranking events will soon become a common trend," Davis told BBC Sport.

"Liu Chuang and Liang Wenbo have done well in the qualifiers and who's to say we won't see eight players from China at The Crucible in the future.

Steve David says "It will have a positive knock-on effect for snooker because China will want to host more events."

Approximately 50m people play snooker in China and in Beijing alone there are 300 venues.

With statistics like that, Davis's prediction is not outlandish.

I think the public would like to see the World Championship in China one day.

I think they would also like to see the World Championship in China one day.

A few years ago that suggestion might have been greeted with bemusement, and a fair degree of derision.

And if the growth in China continues apace, the sport can look forward to a very healthy global future.

What're your thoughts on the 'Chinese Snooker Revolution'? Are you against it or all for it?

Latest 10 comments

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posted Oct 9, 2008

It's a unique atmosphere every year for that fortnight in Sheffield

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It's because its the world championship NOT because of the crucible.

The championship should have been rotating around for the past 10 years aleady. For far too long Sheffield has been able to keep it all to themselves, to the detriment of snoker fans in the rest of the country. Now the likes of China are entering the fray as genuine hotbeds for snooke as well, time to allow the WORLD championship to roam.

Besides, taking some of the events away from the UK can also be a good thing for the sport here. Are people really that interested in who wins he Welsh Open or Grand Prix when there is another very similar tournament just 3 or 4 weeks further on? Instead move the events around, use different formats, more local players and venues that actually look distinguishable from one another.

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comment by xela28 (U11841959)

posted Oct 9, 2008

It's not just China, there is huge potenial in the middle east and europe, especially Germany. The potential is huge but the lack of development is dissapointing to say the least. All the qualifiers are held in Prestatyn? I mean PRESTATYN! that's just a joke. Those in charge have not made enough effort to develop the sport and guys like John Higgins should be praised and encouraged for having some drive and vision, because most of those in World Snooker clearly have very little.

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comment by hizento (U8679012)

posted Oct 10, 2008

In a not too distant future players in the UK will be moving to China and live there. They would all be treated like celebrities and live like kings.

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comment by . (U13466329)

posted Oct 10, 2008

I'm not the biggest fan of Snooker, but surely it needs to be kept in England at The Crucible in Sheffield. Placing it to a different country won't work in my opinion.

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comment by hizento (U8679012)

posted Oct 10, 2008

England gave the world football. If football are kept in this country I doubt very much it would become the most popular sport in the world worth multibillion as we know it today. Either let snooker blossom and go global or die its own death in "little englander".

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comment by hizento (U8679012)

posted Oct 10, 2008

If Alex Higgins can speak Mandarin he would be on the first plane to China. Players ranked outside the top 32 and struggling to make ends meet doing odd jobs to fill an income gap can do a whole lot better by moving to China. If I were them I would start attending evening classes in Chinese language and start making preparation about moving over there.

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posted Oct 10, 2008

It should NEVER be played in china...NEVER

there is no rational reason for this in my honest opinion, there is a larger number of snooker fans in China, and they do call it The World Series of Snooker after all

It should NEVER be played in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland let alone China

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posted Oct 12, 2008

Some time ago in another thread, I posted a concept calander with new events. I shall repost it here and leave you to cast your opinion:

July 24 - July 27 -> Road to China Qualifiers, O2 Arena London

Aug 4 - Aug 10 -> SHANGHAI MASTERS
Aug 18 - Aug 24 -> CHINA OPEN, Beijing

Sep 1 - Sep 7 -> SNOOKER WORLD CUP, Hong Kong
Sep 25 - Sep 28 -> Grand Prix Qualifiers, Pontin's Prestatyn

Oct 4 - Oct 12 -> GRAND PRIX, Aberdeen
Oct 26 - Nov 2 -> DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIP, ???

Nov 7 - Nov 9 -> NIT Qualifiers, Pontin's Prestatyn
Nov 16 - Nov 23 -> NORTHERN IRELAND TROPHY, Belfast (Now doubles as Qualifier for UK Championship)

Dec 6 - Dec 14 -> UK CHAMPIONSHIP, ???

Jan 4 -> POT BLACK

Jan 11 - Jan 18 -> THE MASTERS, London
Jan 23 - Jan 25 -> English & Welsh Open Qualifiers, Pontin's Prestatyn
Jan 31 - Feb 8 -> ENGLISH OPEN, ???

Feb 10 - Feb 15 -> Worlds Initial Qualifiers, English Institute of Sport Sheffield
Feb 28 - Mar 1 -> WELSH OPEN, Newport

Mar 14 - Mar 22 -> CHAMPIONS LEAGUE, ???

Apr 3 - Apr 5 -> Worlds Final Qualifiers, St Julian's Malta
Apr 18 - May 4 -> WORLD SNOOKER CHAMPIONSHIP, Sheffield

Notes:

* A mini China tour in the summer, with one qualification system for the entire tour, thus ensuring the qualified players take part and go to all tournaments.

* A Doubles Championship, to deliver a much needed new dimension to the tour. Also, nearly all snooker fans have played or do play doubles on a regular basis, why shouldn't the pros?

* English Open, but the right venue must be chosen.

* Champions League, all winners so far plus highest average performers (and maybe one or two wildcards?).

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posted Oct 12, 2008

The game of snooker needs to tap more into the massive potential that there is in the rest of the world. Of that there is no doubt whatsoever. The fact that there are already two ranking events played in China is a very positive thing and further developments in that region would be very welcome.

But, at the same time that the game develops these new avenues, it must not lose sight of its history and its heritage. The city of Sheffield, and the Crucible Theatre in particular, have a unique place in the development and growth of snooker in its 'golden age' in the late 70s and early 80s. Formula One is failing that test at the moment.

I'm not saying that the Crucible or Sheffield should host the World Championship every year no matter what. But I would certainly welcome the introduction of a bid rota system where there was a regular return to Sheffield or the Crucible, rather like the Open golf championship returns to St Andrews every five years or so. Perhaps you could still have an event in Sheffield each year when the world championship isn't there, but the issue needs looking at.

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posted Oct 14, 2008

When the contract expires why not have it in China as a one-off. The Crucible is the mecca of snooker but traditions and times change, Snooker needs a big boost 'money wise' and the most populated country in the world would surely provide huge revenue. If its a success why not alternate it with Sheffield every other year ?

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