Chinese star Ding Junhui warns his fellow players to have ‘self-discipline’ after match-fixing scandal
- Two-time UK Championship winner is upset by Martin O’Donnell in the fourth round
- Over 20 Chinese players at the York tournament, but all are sent home before the quarters
Chinese snooker icon Ding Junhui warned his fellow players of the “self-discipline” needed to succeed after the latest scandal involving players from the mainland broke last week.
China’s Yu Delu was handed one of the heaviest punishments for match-fixing in snooker by the sport’s governing body when he was banned for 10 years and nine months while another mainlander, Cao Yupeng received a six-year suspension after pleading guilty to his misbehaviour.
Following a surprising forth round defeat by Englishman Martin O’Donnell in the UK Championship in York, Ding told Xinhua News that “players need self-discipline” when asked about the match-fixing case. The state news agency said Ding was reluctant to give further comments.
However, the two-time UK Championship winner said he felt sorry for his fellow Chinese players, especially the young players as they were all knocked out in the tournament just like him before making it to the quarter-finals. China had more than 20 players in York.
“Chinese players all faced difficulties here,” said Ding at York Barbican. “Life is not easy for them. They must suffer some hard feelings after losing here as many of them are young players. I hope they can overcome this and enjoy playing.”
Ding, who won the same tournament in 2005 and 2009, said he would return home to spend time with his family before returning for next month’s Masters in London. The Masters is one of the Triple Crown events, alongside with the World Championship and the UK Championship.
“The World Championship remains the biggest target and I don’t care too much about the other events,” Ding said. “Today I wasn’t in my best. In fact, the opponent did not play very well midway through the match but I gave away too many chances so that he was able to build up his confidence.”
Ding was leading O’Donnell 3-2, but then the Londoner took three frames in a row before registering his biggest UK Championship win.
O’Donnell had never won a match in his five previous attempts, but has now won four in the 2018 event, all against Chinese players, earning him the chance to take on defending champion, Ronnie O’Sullivan in the quarter-finals.
Another former winner, Judd Trump of England, was also knocked out in the fourth round, losing 6-4 to fellow Englishman Joe Perry.