Ding remains China’s favorite snooker player

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/8/11 19:28:39

Chinese snooker star Ding Junhui remains the most popular Chinese athlete in the sport even though he was knocked out in the quarterfinals at the World Snooker International Championship.

"I did not get very upset ­after losing the match, instead I ­enjoyed the game," Ding said in an interview with Titan Sports after his defeat to Mark Allen in the quarterfinals. "I cherish every game I play. I don't have to put a lot pressure on myself."

Fans remain disappointed in Ding's lack of success but note the has faced recent family distractions. His mother died in 2017, and he became a father in August 2018. 

"I am still a professional athlete, I might look like I have no passion for the championship but deep inside I want to win," the 32-year-old  said. 

During his glittering career, Ding, who is a former world No.1, is only short of a World Championship title in his trophy case. "I am no longer obsessed with winning a World Championship," Ding said. "As I am getting older, I just want to enjoy every match and do my best."

Some local fans in Daqing, Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province seem to have lost interest in the International Championship since Ding's elimination.

Ding's last win was in 2017 when he claimed the World Open. His exit from the International Championship means his trophy drought has lasted more than two years. 

Now ranked 10th in the world, Ding is facing pressure from other Chinese players, as a number of them are doing well on the international stage, including 19-year-old Yan Bingtao, who won the Riga Masters this year. 

Ding will have a chance for redemption at next month's Shanghai Masters, a 24-man invitational event featuring the world's top 16 players plus the four highest-ranked Chinese players. 

"For sure I will be overtaken by the younger generation," Ding said. "I still hope my presence in snooker will inspire more people to participate in the sport."


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