Amateur Snooker, Main News

Q School: 12 players graduate to World Snooker Tour

After two weeks of tension-charged action, Q School ended on Sunday with 12 players in total emerging as graduates to the World Snooker Tour.

Four qualifying events took place, with eight players coming through the two tournaments staged in Leicester and a further four from competitions held in Bangkok.

Half of those competitors have sealed spots on the professional circuit for the first time in their careers, with the other six returning for another crack at stardom.

Nine countries are represented, which is a terrific number that helps to underline the sport’s potential on a global scale.

Here is a brief rundown of the dozen players who have secured two-year cards to compete on World Snooker Tour during the upcoming 2024/25 and 2025/26 campaigns.

Q School 1

Artemijs Zizins

Artemijs Zizins (pictured) became the first snooker player from Latvia to turn professional after overcoming Kayden Brierley in the final round of Q School 1.

The 18 year-old also beat the likes of Victor Sarkis, Iulian Boiko, and Mark Joyce en route to securing his maiden two-year card.

Allan Taylor

Allan Taylor dropped off the main tour at the end of last season after failing to break into the top 64 of the official world rankings list.

But the Englishman, who first turned professional back in 2013, edged Chris Totten in a deciding frame to immediately bounce back.

Haydon Pinhey

Haydon Pinhey suffered agony in the final round of Q School in each of the last four editions of the cut-throat tournament for aspiring amateurs.

The Englishman made it fifth-time lucky, beating Craig Steadman and Anton Kazakov before orchestrating a 4-2 victory over Gerard Greene in the last round.

Wang Yuchen

Wang Yuchen edged Dylan Emery 4-3 in a dramatic concluding round of Q School 1 that saw all but one frame played across the four matches.

The Chinese 26 year-old, who now represents Hong Kong, had a previous stint on the pro circuit between 2016 and 2018 with not much success.


Q School 2

Antoni Kowalski

Antoni Kowalski will participate as a professional player for the first time in his fledgling career after emerging successfully from Q School 2.

The Poland potter, who turned 20 in February, pipped James Cahill on the final black in the penultimate round before beating Simon Blackwell 4-1 at the last hurdle.

Chris Totten

Scotland’s Chris Totten, denied cruelly at Q School 1, ended a five-year absence from the World Snooker Tour courtesy of a 4-2 glory over Lewis Ullah.

The 25 year-old, a former European amateur champion, spent only three seasons as a professional during his only prior stint among the elite.

Farakh Ajaib

After losing his tour card at the end of the 2021/22 snooker season, Farakh Ajaib will make his return in 2024.

The Englishman, who denied Iulian Boiko in the final round of Q School 2, reached the last 16 of the 2022 European Masters and was a winner of a Q Tour event during the 2022/23 campaign.

Mitchell Mann

A former World Championship qualifier at the Crucible Theatre, Mitchell Mann is back on the main tour following just a year’s absence.

The 2017 Paul Hunter Classic semi-finalist has reached a career-high ranking of number 70 in the past, and victory over Joshua Thomand confirmed his return to the big-time.


Q School 1 (Asia & Oceania)

Lim Kok Leong

Lim Kok Leong is one of the three players from the Asia and Oceania leg of Q School who will become a rookie professional for the 2024/25 snooker season.

The Malaysian, 29, triumphed at the IBSF World Championship in 2022 and squeezed past Gao Yang in the final round.

Sunny Akani

A popular player among fans, Sunny Akani makes his return to the pro setup after two years in the doldrums as an amateur.

The 28 year-old previously enjoyed professional status between 2015 and 2022, twice reaching the quarter-finals of ranking events.


Q School 2 (Asia & Oceania)

Haris Tahir

Haris Tahir beat Lan Yuhao 4-2 in the last round of Asia and Oceania Q School 2, meaning that somewhat surprisingly there were no Chinese-representing players who emerged as a graduate this year.

Tahir, 24, will therefore be hoping to become the first player from Pakistan since Shokat Ali to make a genuine impact on the main tour.

Kreishh Gurbaxani

Finally, Kreishh Gurbaxani from India gained promotion to the highest level of snooker thanks to a 4-2 success over Muhammad Naseem Akhtar.

The 21 year-old beat outgoing Indian professional Himanshu Jain in the early rounds and joins countryman Ishpreet Singh Chadha on the main tour.

Featured photo credit: WST

3 Comments

  1. Jay Brannon

    One striking aspect of this year’s Q School is how no hard nosed matchplayers that have been around the block countless times managed to secure a card. I’m thinking names like Rory McLeod and Peter Lines. The majority of this year’s ex pro graduates are lightly raced in terms of professional experience.

    Mitchell Mann qualifying ensures my home city of Birmingham will be represented on the circuit again.

    I’m surprised we’ve still nor heard whether Stephen Hendry and Ken Doherty will receive invitational tour cards.

  2. Jay brannon

    Sorry to engage my pedant-mode but it’s Antoni as opposed to Anton!

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