Ding Junhui confirms World Snooker Championships appearance

Mark Staniforth, PA
PA Media: Sport

Former finalist Ding Junhui has confirmed his participation in next month’s World Snooker Championships, effectively guaranteeing a full quota of top 16 stars at the tournament.

Ding, the world number 11, withdrew from this month’s Coral Tour Championship due to concerns relating to travel and quarantine in the coronavirus pandemic.

However, World Snooker said the 33-year-old, who lost to Mark Selby in the 2016 final, has indicated he will play in the event, which is set to start on July 31 at The Crucible.

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Ding’s move comes as a number of fellow Chinese stars, including Zhou Yuelong, Xiao Guodong and Zhao Xintong, officially withdrew from the tournament citing ongoing coronavirus-related concerns.

The trio had been due to take part in the qualifying tournament which is set to start on July 21, also in Sheffield.

Yan Bingtao, the only other Chinese player currently in the world’s top 16, is based in the UK and will not be affected by travel or quarantine issues.

Yan Bingtao will also compete at The Crucible (Nigel French/PA)
Yan Bingtao will also compete at The Crucible (Nigel French/PA)

World Snooker chief Barry Hearn remains hopeful that some fans will be allowed to watch this year’s tournament, which will take place amid strict social-distancing regulations.

Ding’s decision to withdraw from the Tour Championships saw him replaced by Stephen Maguire, who went on to win the tournament and claim the £250,000 total prize fund.

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