Cao Chinese qualifiers
Amateur Snooker, Snooker Headlines

Cao Yupeng Among Four Chinese Qualifiers for Main Tour

The quartet will compete on the professional circuit during the 2021/22 and 2022/23 campaigns.

Chinese competitor Cao Yupeng will compete on the Main Tour for the first time since his ban ended after emerging from the CBSA qualifiers in Beijing last week.

Organised by the Chinese Billiards and Snooker Association, Zhang Anda, Zhang Jiankang, and Wu Yize also managed to graduate at the CBSA-WPBSA Academy to earn two-year cards.

Cao beat Liu Hingyu 4-3 in a dramatic final match to secure his return to the professional scene, five months after his match-fixing suspension came to an end.

In 2018, the 30 year-old was originally handed an eight-year sentence that was reduced to six after being given credit for his plea of guilty for match fixing.

As three and a half years of his term are suspended, Cao is able to return to competitive play and it’ll be interesting to see if he can replicate the kind of form he produced in the period leading up to his ban.

At the 2017 Scottish Open, Cao came within a frame of beating Neil Robertson in the final of the Scottish Open and just a few months later he also finished runner-up in the Gibraltar Open.

Elsewhere, Zhang Anda and Zhang Jiankang are set to join Cao in making their returns through the Chinese qualifiers – less than a year after both dropped off the tour.

The only newcomer from the foursome will be 17 year-old Wu Yize, who won two matches in last year’s World Championship qualifiers as an invited top-up amateur.

Meanwhile, it was announced at the weekend that the 2021 Q School will take place from May 27 to June 13 at Ponds Forge in Sheffield.

There will be a total of 14 Main Tour places available – four each from three separate tournaments in addition to two extra players from an order of merit table.

For the first time, a seeding system will be used with players relegated at the end of the 2020/21 season, along with leading players from the 2020 Q School order of merit, making up 64 seeded players in each event.

These players will be seeded apart from one another in the opening rounds of the event so that they do not meet before the last-64 round.

Featured photo credit: WST


  1. The seeding for Q School is a huge improvement. With random draws, on average there will be 2 qualifiers (out of the 12) who emerge from weak sections, and it’s less than 50% likely the top 10 players will be able to qualify, because they clash in the draws. The seeding used in Beijing worked well, as in my view the right 4 players qualified. Zhang Anda might have retained his tour card had he played in the World Championship, but with a new baby son, he did not return and has spent more of the time doing commentary for Zhibo. Zhang Jiankang’s previous 2-year spell was wrecked by travel problems. Cao Yupeng was very successful before his suspension. Wu Yize has enormous potential, reminding me of a young Thepchaiya, and an exciting addition to the tour. He’s another Roger Leighton student, along with Chang Bingyu and Bai Langning who recently reached ‘Judgement Day’.

  2. Jamie Brannon

    Yupeng’s ban was very lenient for arguably the gravest sporting offence. His return will certainly not go down well with many fans. This could be the first time in snooker that a player found guilty of match fixing has ever returned to the elite game.

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