FOUR new players will join the World Snooker Tour for the 2022/23 season onwards as the inaugural Asia/Oceana QSchool ended on Saturday.
It’s the first time a Qschool has been held outside of England, which began in 2011 and was held at the Royal Bangkok Sports Hall in Thailand.
Muhammed Asif, 40, from Pakistan, Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon, Dechawat Poomjaeng, the very enigmatic and energetic Thai previously dropped off the circuit in 2017 after six entertaining years as a pro in which he famously reached the second round of the World Championship in 2013.
He’s also famous for losing a frame with the 3-miss rule.
Finally, and last but not least, Himanshu Jain…
Himanshu Jain was the fourth and final qualifier following a dramatic and nail-biting thriller with Kritsanut Lertsattaythorn that ended 4-3 on the final pink.
Jain becomes the first Indian player since Aditya Mehta to take part on the Main Tour, as interest in snooker in India continues to thrive.
The 30-year-old’s triumph means that there will be at least 17 different nationalities competing during the 2022/23 campaign.
That’s 16 new graduates from the QSchools as the 2022/23 new season gets underway in a couple of weeks’ time with the Championship League returning.
ANOTHER BELGIUM BREAKTHROUGH…
Also making a debut to the WST is Belgium teenager Ben Mertens following in the footsteps of the talented two-time ranking event winner Luca Brecel.
The 17-year-old defeated Florian Nuessle 5-1 in the final to win the 2022 EBSA European Under-21 Snooker Championship and earns his stripes for a pro card for two years.
Mertens has been knocking on the door for a while and finally is able to walk through it and earn the title of professional snooker player.
The recruit is proving that Belgium is becoming a bed for new and young talent as snooker across the globe is gaining huge momentum and interest. From India to the sub-continent to the European continents, the game is slowly producing more talent.
There is of course the female players who graduated to the tour in the last year as Nutcharut Wongharuthai (pictured) will make her debut on the tour next season along with England’s Rebecca Kenna.
With plenty of newcomers and experienced veterans returning, the 2022/23 season is set to be a thriller – especially with the Class of 92 in Ronnie O’Sullivan, Mark Williams, and John Higgins still playing at the top of their game well into their late 40s!
SnookerZone can’t wait for the action to get underway soon!