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China to host half of new season's snooker ranking events

(Xinhua)

10:43, May 03, 2012

SHEFFIELD, England, May 2 (Xinhua) -- China would host half of the world's snooker ranking events next season after the Wuxi Classic became one of them on Wednesday.

The Wuxi Classic has been a regular fixture on the calendar since 2008, initially as an invitation tournament, and has now been given full ranking status, according to the World Snooker.

It becomes a world ranking event for the first time next season, thanks to a new five-year agreement.

It will be one of five ranking events in China next season, including the newly launched World Snooker International Championship, the China Open, the Shanghai Masters and the Haikou World Open.

As the ranking events in the world are expected to have a minimum of nine stops next season, China has no doubt becomes the centre stage for the new season format with half or more than half to be staged there.

The tournament will run from June 25 to July 1 and will be the first ranking event of the 2012/13 season.

Total prize money for the event this year will be 400,000 pounds (1 pound is about 1.62 U.S. dollars), rising to 425,000 pounds next year then 450,000 pounds for the following three years.

Wuxi, located in the Jiangsu Province, is known as one of the most beautiful cities in China and is the home town of Chinese top player Ding Junhui.

World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: "We are delighted to welcome the Wuxi Classic to our family of world ranking events in China. This is a wonderful example of an invitation event attended by the top players, opening the door for a full ranking event.

"China is a rapidly expanding market and we are going where the demand is because this game belongs to the world. There were five Chinese players in the World Championship this year and there are many more waiting in the wings."

The qualifying rounds of the tournament will run from June 5 to 8 at the World Snooker Academy in Sheffield.

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