Cheung Ka Wai will be a professional player next season after triumphing at the 2024 WSF Championship in Albania.
The 24 year-old from Hong Kong thrashed Gao Yang 5-0 in the World Snooker Federation final at the Grand Blue Fafa Resort in Golem.
Cheung’s victory in the prestigious international amateur tournament will see him earn a two-year card to compete on the World Snooker Tour.
After emerging from the initial round-robin stage with a 100% winning record, Cheung proceeded to dominate most of his knockout fixtures.
Indeed, an impressive run of form saw him lose only four frames across the ten matches he played in the competition.
Cheung whitewashed Oskar Charlesworth in the round of 64 before respective 4-1 and 4-0 defeats of Luke Pinches and Harvey Chandler helped him to reach the last eight.
Oliver Sykes then provided the sternest test, the Englishman representing the only player to take two frames off Cheung throughout the week’s action.
But with Sykes safely accounted for, Cheung never looked back and he produced a fine display in the semi-finals to eclipse Iulian Boiko.
A tournament-high break of 138 was followed by contributions of 111 and 65 as he dominated the talented young Ukrainian.
Breaks were harder to come by in the final as both Cheung and Gao, the 2020 WSF junior champion, struggled with the nerves of the occasion.
But the former held himself together the strongest, and after establishing a 3-0 lead he won a crucial fourth frame on the black to all but end the hopes of his Chinese opponent.
A run of 60 in the fifth frame proved enough to complete the demolition job, with Cheung now guaranteed a spot on the pro circuit during the 2024/25 and 2025/26 campaigns.
“It is every player’s dream to join the World Snooker Tour,” Cheung Ka Wai said, as quoted by the WPBSA.
“I just feel very happy and surprised with my performance, especially in the semi-finals with back-to-back centuries.”
“I played my own game and tried to play like it was practice, which is not easy, but my performance gave me a lot of confidence for the final.
“In the final, the fourth frame was big as I already thought it was 3-1 at the mid-session interval but I tried to play the shot I thought was right and the result came.”
“This is the biggest achievement in my snooker life, I think. I have always wished to be a professional player, so I am really happy to make this happen.
“It is also a significant result for our sport and I hope that the Hong Kong government will consider to keep Billiard Sports in the Hong Kong Sport Institute instead of asking us to leave in 2025.
“I’ve been a part of the Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI) for around 7-8 years as a full-time athlete and even when I was younger, I was a part-time junior athlete.
“Every tournament, every competition I get support from the HKSI and HKSBCC.
“I have always had a lot of support and encouragement from people in Hong Kong to play more and to chase my goal to earn a [World Snooker] Tour ticket.
“I am grateful to the HKSI because we get a lot of support to go to all the places to get experience and to play competitions and practice with high standard players.
“I hope this can remain unchanged in the future so that I can have an easier way to do well in the World Snooker Tour.”
Last week, Bulscú Révész won the 2024 WSF Junior Championship to become the first ever player from Hungary to earn a professional tour card.
2024 WSF Championship
Oliver Sykes 4-3 Hayden Staniland
Cheung Ka Wai 4-0 Harvey Chandler
Wang Yuchen 4-3 Ryan Davies
Iulian Boiko 4-2 Florian Nüßle
Rodion Judin 4-2 Hamim Hussain
Daniel Womersley 4-1 Luke Simmonds
Nattanapong Chaikul 4-1 Steven Hallworth
Gao Yang 4-3 Kreish Gurbaxani
Cheung Ka Wai 4-2 Oliver Sykes
Iulian Boiko 4-3 Wang Yuchen
Daniel Womersley 4-3 Rodion Judin
Gao Yang 4-2 Nattanapong Chaikuk
Cheung Ka Wai 4-0 Iulian Boiko
Gao Yang 4-3 Daniel Womersley
Cheung Ka Wai 5-0 Gao Yang
Featured photo credit: WSF