21 Jun, 2007
HONG KONG (AFP) - Eight of snooker's biggest names including Ronnie "Rocket" O'Sullivan, Chinese prodigy Ding Junhui and world champion John Higgins will compete in Hong Kong next month in the Euro-Asia Master Challenge, organisers said Thursday.
Four top players from Europe and four from Asia will go head to head in the three-day event, part of the celebrations to mark the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China.
The European team also includes Stephen Hendry, widely considered the best player the world has seen, and 1997 world champion Ken Doherty, who has enjoyed a recent return to form.
On the Asian side, the 20-year-old Ding will be joined by local player Marco Fu and Thailand's Supoj Saenla and James Wattana.
Fu, ranked 37 in the world, said he was looking forward to competing with such big-name players.
"There are no easy games at all but it will be a very good opportunity for me to charge up before the upcoming new season," he said.
The eight players will compete for both a team trophy and an individual prize in the four-day tournament.
A separate Euro-Asia vs Hong Kong Team Challenge will pit the eight players against a local team.
The finals will be held on July 15 in front of 3,000 spectators and the total prize purse for the tournament is 680,000 dollars (87,023 US).
Organiser Danny Mak said he was "very proud of having so many big names competing and bringing this world class sport event to Hong Kong."
"We strongly believe that it will help propel local snooker development," he added.