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Five Chinese players earn tour cards

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Yan Bingtao

Five Chinese players have earned two-year cards to compete on the main snooker tour from the 2016-17 season.

Yan Bingtao, 16, could not take up his card last year because of visa issues, while Zhao Xintong, 19, was runner-up in the 2015 World Amateur Championship.

Cao Yupeng, 25, and Chen Zhe, 23, and Fang Xiongman, 23, all came though six rounds of matches in Q School.

Last month, World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn said half of the top 16 in the world will be from China one day.

A further 12 tour cards are still available, four each from Q School events which will take place later in May, and four more from a Q School order of merit.

WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson said: “Chinese players continue to be a strong force in snooker and this is further evidence of the rising young talent fighting for a place on the World Snooker tour.”

Earlier this month, Ding Junhui became the first Chinese player to play in the World Championship final at the Crucible, losing 18-14 to Mark Selby. The tournament was watched by a television audience of 210 million in China.

The only Englishman to earn a tour card for next season from the Q School’s first event one was 23-year-old Christopher Keogan from Doncaster.

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