Undoubtedly, many Chinese fans understand snooker from Ding Junhui.
The moment when Ding Junhui won the 2005 British Championship.
The 18-year-old British Championship champion, the 20-year-old runner-up of the Masters, turned out to be young and promising. For a while, Ding Junhui galloped on the snooker stage and talked about it for the Chinese.
The gentlemen in formal attire have deep gazes, gazing intently at the 6-square-meter green table, most of the time behind the relatively static, but the writing is full of swords.
The charm of this sport has spread rapidly in the streets of China in the past ten years.
Data map: Ding Junhui's photo of winning the British Championships in 2019.
He is not only a benchmark figure of Chinese snooker, but also led a large number of young people on the path of professional snooker.
Image source: Visual China
The 7-year-old Yan Bingtao held a cue for the first time in a simple billiards hall that costs 1 yuan a game.
At almost the same time, Ding Junhui, the Chinese snooker leader at the other end of the parallel space, lost to O'Sullivan in the finals of the Masters, and was only a few steps away from his second three-time champion.
After another 14 years, Yan Bingtao, who is less than 21 years old, ushered in the first peak of his career in Milton Keynes, England.
In the early morning of the 18th, Beijing time, he made up for Ding Junhui's regret that he stayed in that year. He won Higgins 10:8 in the final of the Masters, won the championship, and won the cup.
The moment when Yan Bingtao wins the Masters.
As one of the "three big tournaments" of snooker, the Masters invites the top 16 players from the top 128 professional tournaments to play.
Yan Bingtao has gradually shown his edge since last season and won his first ranking championship. Now he is ranked 11th in the world for the first time in the Masters.
After four consecutive reversals, repelling strong enemies all the way, and finally winning the Masters Championship, and at the same time becoming the first "post-00" champion in the history of the three major tournaments, every step of the teenager's counterattack is not easy.
A poster for the Masters finals released by the World Taiwan Federation.
Image source: World Taiwan Federation official social media
From a working family background, Yan Bingtao wants to imitate Ding Junhui, and he needs more than a little courage.
Even though there was an upsurge for young people to learn snooker in China at that time, it was almost impossible to dare to drop out of school and focus on billiards like a "Chinese Ding".
But with the support of his parents, Yan Bingtao did so.
Soon after the decision to leave the campus was made, he was accompanied by his father from Zibo, Shandong to Beijing.
The tuition fees of Snooker College are not low, leaving the mother alone to support the family, which embarrassed the family.
"In order to save money, my dad and I rented in the suburbs of Beijing. There are only tables and beds in the room. The monthly rent is 280 yuan, but it is actually very happy to be able to learn golf." In an interview with the media, Yan Bingtao revealed, At that time, I would go back to my home ball room to practice.
Yan Bingtao updates Weibo after winning the championship.
In 2013, Yan Mu was diagnosed with rectal cancer, which made the family that has been struggling to support the family worse.
But his father told him, “Since you have chosen this path, you must stick to it.” After that, Yan Bingtao started playing games to make money to supplement his family. During the difficult days, a family of three stood up through their teeth.
In 2014, he became the youngest World Snooker Amateur Championship champion at the age of 14 years and 286 days, won two seasons of professional qualifications, and became a snooker "genius boy" that has attracted worldwide attention.
The combination of talent and hard work puts Yan Bingtao ahead of time-he is very much like childhood idol Ding Junhui, and the speed of "raising the ball" seems to be faster than his age.
People around him feel that he has a maturity and stability beyond that of his peers.
Yan Bingtao said that he was practicing a poker face because "I can't let the opponent see that I am panicking."
The final game situation.
Screenshot of the official game
Yan Bingtao’s growth was seen by many snooker masters. Today’s opponent in the decisive battle, the 45-year-old veteran Higgins, once said that Yan Bingtao reminded him of Davis when he was young-that is in the history of British snooker In the 1980s, he won six world championships and four British championships.
Throughout the history of the Masters, only Ronnie O’Sullivan was the 19-year-old in 1995. He was ranked before Yan Bingtao’s championship age. O’Sullivan also said to Yan Bingtao, "He will be the best player, he can Won 6 world championships."
During this competition, O'Sullivan reiterated that compared with Ding Junhui, Yan Bingtao is more hopeful to win the World Championships.
And just during last year’s World Championships, he was disappointed with snooker’s rising star, "Look at me, Williams and Higgins, the level of young players is really not high now. Most of them are. They can only be regarded as high-level amateurs. I think they are too bad, even if I lack arms or legs, it is difficult to fall out of the top 50."
The contrast between the two attitudes is to make judgments.
To be able to leave such a deep impression on the Rockets, Yan Bingtao naturally has his own strength to support.
In the Masters race, he encountered great difficulties every game, but as he said after winning the championship, "I kept telling myself to keep working hard and not to give up."
On January 17, local time, Yan Bingtao celebrated in the game.
On the same day, in the 2021 Snooker Masters final in Milton Keynes, England, Chinese player Yan Bingtao defeated Scottish player Higgins 10 to 8 to win the championship.
(Photo by Benjamin Moore posted by Xinhua News Agency: Source: Xinhuanet)
Yan Bingtao's persistence naturally has his own reasons.
"My mom and dad would watch me play, and probably stayed up all night. They always taught me not to give up halfway and love life." My girlfriend came to the scene to cheer for him, and he also acted as an English translator for him after the game. Enjoy the joy of holding a cup.
At this moment, for Yan Bingtao, it should be enough to describe it as a winner in life.
After breaking into the top four, he has been unable to restrain his inner excitement. “In the beginning, I didn’t expect the first round, but now I’m in the semifinals.” In addition, Ding Junhui was only 19 years old when he reached the Masters final in 2007. After him, 20-year-old Yan Bingtao became the second youngest Masters semi-finalist in the history of the Masters.
"He is my idol, and I am very satisfied to be able to achieve this at this age."
On January 17, local time, Yan Bingtao kissed the championship trophy to celebrate.
(Photo by Benjamin Moore posted by Xinhua News Agency: Source: Xinhuanet)
For a long time, the Chinese snooker in people's eyes seems to be Ding Junhui alone.
This burden has weighed on him for 16 years, and now, Yan Bingtao can share it with his idol.
It is foreseeable that Yan Bingtao will be compared with Ding Junhui more frequently.
In fact, Yan Bingtao is very grateful to Ding Junhui for being able to make a way for the younger generation, but compared to "the next Ding Junhui", his idea is simple and clear.
"Brother Hui is the direction of my study and the goal of my efforts, but surpassing Brother Hui is not my goal. I just want to be the best Yan Bingtao." (Reporter Wang Sishuo)