Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Q School ready to launch

Barry Hearn has made many sweeping changes to snooker since taking up the mantle as the sport's supremo this season.

Another of those gets underway tomorrow - with the launch of Q School.

With 12 places on next year's main professional tour still up for grabs, the stakes couldn't be higher as 124 budding amateurs begin the first of three specially-designed tournaments, where the four semi-finalists will all gain a professional card for next season.

In line with all of Barry's changes, this means snooker has never been contested on such a level playing field.

Instead of an entire year of toil for game's budding stars of tomorrow, the Q School provides a quick and cheap, but by no means easy way of winning professional status.

For just £1,000, players have the chance to realise their dream for the first time or roll back the years and have another crack at stardom.

Many amateurs believe they're good enough to be professionals. This is their chance to prove it.

Among the hopefuls are familiar names such as David Gray, who beat Ronnie O'Sullivan at the Crucible once upon a time, former Scottish Open winner Lee Walker and former world number five James Wattana.

Then there's exciting young Thai sensation Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon, women's world champion Reanne Evans, Norway's Kurt Maflin, who impressed at this year's China Open and stars of the 1980s Mike Hallett and Tony Knowles.

Other names you may also recognise are Jak Jones, James McBain, Zhang Anda and  Li Hang, to list just a few.

That's not the end of the exciting pool either. A lot of eyes will be on Stephen Hendry's nephew Jason Tart, as well as young hopes Sean O'Sullivan and Ben Harrison.

This is likely to be  a thorough examination for the players. Predicting the victors seems a near impossible task.

But good luck to them all!

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