Top 16 set for Chinese influx, says Jimmy White

Jimmy White

Jimmy White - Credit: Archant

Four Chinese players will be in the top 16 within five years, according to snooker legend Jimmy White.

World number three Ding Junhui is the sole Chinese player in the top 16 at the moment but Xiao Guodang (19) and Liang Wenbo (20) are knocking on the door. The drop-off to the next Chinese player is vast, with Yu Delu checking in at number 50, but White sees that all changing.

“Within five years we will have four Chinese players in the top 16,” he said. “I’ve been going to China for 25 years and I’ve seen snooker grow from a sport people play in their spare time to a very serious one.”

With snooker’s global reach - there are 10 ranking events, five of which take place in China - White believes the game has never been in ruder health, making it an ideal time for young amateurs to turn professional.

“For new professionals, it couldn’t be better,” he explained. “With so many tournaments, it’s like golf, you lose one and then go on to another. It’s not cheap to join the tour but if you’re any good you can climb the rankings in a couple of years and earn a lot of money.”

“The game has never been in better shape.”

White was speaking ahead of the Snooker Legends event at the Radlett Centre on March 11. The Whirlwind will play seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry in a rematch of the 1990 final, with the whole evening compered by John Virgo. To book tickets call the theatre Box Office on 01923 857546 or book online at