Women's champion Ng On-yee invited to men's snooker World Championship
By Ben Reynolds
Last Updated: 14/01/16 2:41pm
Ladies world snooker champion Ng On-yee has become the first Asian woman to be invited to the men's World Championship in Sheffield.
The 25-year-old from Hong Kong, who became the first non-British winner of the World Ladies Snooker Championship last year, will now attempt to become the first woman to reach the main draw after earning a spot at the qualifying tournament.
Ng said her invitation was a positive move from the World Snooker Association.
"I am very excited about the prospect to compete in the best competition in the world," Ng said by email.
"I am sure... all the top lady players are very excited to see that the WSA is showing signs of moving away from past tradition and opening up the door for more opportunities for ladies to participate in different competitions," she added.
Reanne Evans, whose 10-year reign as world champion was ended by Ng at the semi-final stage last year, was invited to the 2015 men's tournament, but lost 10-8 to former men's world champion Ken Doherty in qualifying.
Hopefully someone like Ng On-yee can compete with the men and boost the game forward.
World champion Stuart Bingham
Reigning world champion Stuart Bingham, who beat Ng in an exhibition match in Hong Kong last June, said there was no reason women couldn't compete with the men.
"All it is is mental attitude, so hopefully someone like Ng On-yee can compete with the men and boost the game forward," he told the South China Morning Post.
WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson told World Snooker's official website: "On-Yee's success at the 2015 World Ladies Championship was an incredible achievement and she thoroughly deserves the opportunity to now play in the World Championship in Sheffield.
"Snooker is a sport with no boundaries and as the first non-British winner of the World Ladies Championship, On-Yee is a tremendous example to all who aspire to compete in our sport at the highest level.
"Following the recent restructure of the WLBS we are hugely excited by the future of the ladies game and looking forward to continuing its growth globally as we continue to promote the core values of the Olympic movement."