Diary clear for top players to grace Guangzhou Games
Marco Fu Ka-chun and other top Asian players will be free to appear at the Guangzhou Asian Games in November after a clash with the UK Championship was avoided.
Four years ago, Fu won two silver medals for Hong Kong at the Doha Games - doubles with Chan Wai-ki, and a team event with Chan and Fung Kwok-wai. However, Fu had to forsake a shot at the UK Championship because of a clash of dates. 'Fu will definitely be in the Hong Kong squad as the UK Championship will not start until December this year,' said Joseph Lo Tsun-ying, honorary secretary of the Hong Kong Billiard Sports Control Council. 'Other leading players in the region, such as Ding Junhui of China, will also be in Guangzhou making snooker a big event at the Games.'
Barry Hearn's return as head of world snooker had also helped, Lo said, as the promoter considers the region an important market for the sport and does not want to see Asian players miss the Guangzhou Games.
Fu finished last season with a ranking of 14, meaning he will not have to take part in the qualifiers of any ranking tournament in the new season. Ding is the highest ranked Asian player in fifth place, while Liang Wenbo is 16th.
Lo did not reveal the rest of the Hong Kong squad as approval from the Olympic Committee is still needed, but it is believed that world champion Zoe Ng On-yee will make an appearance in Guangzhou, as women's snooker will be featured for the first time in the Asian Games with both singles and team events.
Ng failed to make the East Asian Games squad last year, as the team were selected before she was crowned world champion.
Meanwhile, snooker is still awaiting its first head coach at the Sports Institute, as shortlisted candidate Wayne Griffiths has yet to agree financial terms. The son of Welsh former world champion Terry Griffiths was interviewed last month and impressed the selection board.