Prodigy's our poster boy, says top official

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 December, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 December, 2006, 12:00am

Ding Junhui's success in Doha and on the professional tour is a boon for the sport on the mainland, according to a top official.

Liu Peng, director of the Sports General Administration of China, said snooker was a sport with a big competitive base, which gave it great potential for development at both elite and grass-roots level.

'You can find tens of thousands of snooker tables all across China, from the large cities to the remote areas of the country. It is a very popular sport,' said Liu, who watched compatriots Ding and Tian Pengfei win the doubles final and presented them with their medals.

Liu said it was the first time he had watched Ding play in person, but he had watched him many times on television and been impressed by his success.

'Ding is a very successful player as you can tell from his performance in Doha and I think he can be a role model for the sport to attract more people with the potential to play at a higher level.'

Liu said elite sports were being developed in two streams - Olympic sports, which were contested at the National Games, and non-Olympic sports, like snooker, which were played at the National Sports Congress. Both were being well taken care of, he said.