Millions across China will be watching as Ding Junhui, tipped for stardom since he was a teenager, takes to the table for the closing session of the World Snooker Championship final.
Facing off against the UK’s Mark Selby at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre on Monday, it will be the closest to world domination the 29-year-old has come after years on the international circuit. He is already the first Asian to make it this far.
The story of his rise begins with a fortuitous toilet break.
One day when he was eight years old, Ding tagged along with his pool enthusiast father as he visited a hall to hone his skills with a local pool expert, according to a profile on news portal NetEase.
It was there that the baby-faced aspirant, affectionately nicknamed “Little Ding” by the Chinese press, reportedly discovered his hidden talent.
When his father went for a toilet break, Ding decided to take over the cue and before the elder Ding returned he had won the game.
From then on, his parents steeped him in cue sports training, particularly in snooker which is popular in China. Read More
Selby (left) and Ding (right) will resume the final match on Monday afternoon in the UK