Snooker is becoming ever more global, with World Snooker supremo Barry Hearn and World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association Chairman Jason Ferguson always trying to find new markets to explore for the game.
In recent years, events have been staged in more than a dozen different countries across Europe, as well as testing out potential areas of growth in the likes of the Indian subcontinent, South America, and Oceania.
For the last decade, Asia has been experiencing the greatest spurt in popularity and, after a period in which the sport has been completely transformed into a well managed money-spinning business, the future looks bright.
This globalisation has also been reflected in the influx of competitors from new countries participating on the Main Tour – with Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, and Malaysia, to name but a few, boasting players on the circuit these days.
The change to the tour structure and the introduction of open draws for the majority of events has provided fans with the opportunity to see some of these fledgling stars in action.
However, one thing that hasn’t been altered since Hearn’s takeover in 2010 is the format for the World Snooker Championship, which still requires players who are ranked outside the top 16 to qualify in order to reach the venue stages at the Crucible.
While some may argue that this is somewhat exclusive, really it just underlines the everlasting prestige that is associated with the Worlds, a marathon tournament – longer than even the Olympic Games – that isn’t comparable to any other competition on the calendar, and shouldn’t be.
It has meant that the number of represented nationalities in the World Snooker Championship since its move to the Crucible in 1977 has remained relatively low.
Indeed, only 17 nationalities have graced the famous stage and, while several countries have come close to joining the club in the last couple of years, there have actually been only two new additions to that tally in the last decade.
The question is, can you name all the nationalities in the World Snooker Championship?