World Championship qualifying draw
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World Championship Qualifying Draw Announced

The World Championship qualifying draw has been released, with the highly anticipated event set to get under way on Wednesday in Sheffield.

World Championship qualifying draw
Can Jimmy roll back the years to the delight of his legion of fans? Photo credit: Monique Limbos

Following the conclusion of the China Open on Sunday in Beijing, the top 16 in the world rankings were officially confirmed.

Those competitors, from world number one Ronnie O’Sullivan, defending world champion Mark Williams, and David Gilbert who squeezed in via the last spot, will all automatically feature in the main draw at the Crucible Theatre later in April.

There are, however, 16 additional spots that are still up for grabs.

All the remaining professionals are in the World Championship qualifying draw, alongside a number of amateurs that have been invited as top-ups.



Among those trying to get back to the Crucible are former world champions Ken Doherty, Peter Ebdon, and Graeme Dott.

Six-time finalist Jimmy White, the People’s Champion, is also attempting to return to the scene of so many of his triumphs and failures.

The “Whirlwind”, who hasn’t featured in the main event since 2006, meets Irish teenager Ross Bulman, before a potential encounter with twice runner-up Ali Carter in the next round.

Doherty, the 1997 world champion, faces Andy Lee while Ebdon and Dott entertain Harvey Chandler and Hamza Akbar respectively.

The World Championship qualifying draw is littered, though, with familiar names and some inevitably set to experience the disappointment of missing out for another edition.

To emerge from the preliminaries with a coveted place in next week’s last 32, each player must win three matches at the English Institute of Sport.

Despite there being no silverware on offer, qualifying for the World Championship is often one of the most dramatic tournaments in its own right throughout the entire campaign.

The cueists are vying to compete in the sport’s blue riband championship and the tension is often notched up to dizzying levels.

To add to the spice, several players will be fighting for their tour survival with the World Championship the last counting event of this term.

After winning a couple of rounds in what will be the traditional best of 19 frames format that is played out over two sessions, Judgement Day awaits.

Widely perceived by the snooker community as one of the most entertaining rounds all year, even the most experienced pros can fall foul to an intense inspection of their games.

Another intriguing first round tie sees Ryan Day, who missed out on an automatic berth by just one place, challenged by Oliver Lines.

Two women snooker players are trying to upset the order, with Reanne Evans facing Zhang Yong and Ng On Yee meeting three-time semi-finalist Alan McManus.

Recent European under-21 champion Jackson Page will play Dublin’s Fergal O’Brien, who could drop out of the top 64 in the world rankings with a poor performance.

Plenty of compelling stories are sure to unfold over the coming week or so as snooker’s biggest month of action gets going in earnest.

Live coverage will be on the Eurosport Player.

Click here to view the World Championship qualifying draw. (Times: CET)



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World Rankings Top 16

World Rankings after the Tour Championship – won by Neil Robertson.

1. Judd Trump
2. Ronnie O’Sullivan
3. Neil Robertson
4. Mark Selby
5. John Higgins
6. Kyren Wilson
7. Shaun Murphy
8. Stephen Maguire
9. Ding Junhui
10. Yan Bingtao
11. Barry Hawkins
12. Mark Williams
13. Mark Allen
14. Jack Lisowski
15. David Gilbert
16. Anthony McGill

Fin Ruane Snooker Academy