Sheffield (England), April 28 (IANS) The newly-launched World Snooker International Championship will be staged for the first time later this year in China, with the tournament offering the highest top prize ever for a competitive event in Asia.
The world ranking event will run from Oct 28 to Nov 4 with 600,000 pounds ($972,000) in total prize money and the winner to collect 125,000 pounds ($202,000), reported Xinhua.
It will carry the same level of ranking points as the UK Championship, which is traditionally tipped as one of the "big three" events in a season along with the ongoing World Championship and the Masters.
The tournament will feature 32 of the world's top professional players, plus eight Asian wild cards.
The event will be staged for the next five seasons following an agreement between World Snooker and CCTV Sports & Entertainment Co Ltd. The host city is likely to be confirmed shortly.
World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: "We are absolutely delighted to announce this fantastic new event, alongside CCTV Sports & Entertainment Co Ltd, a great partner with vast experience in television broadcast and events."
"The International Championship will take snooker into a city which has never staged a professional event before, in turn helping the sport to grow in China.
"Last season there were two ranking events in China, next season there will be five, which shows the level of growth in the region and the hunger of the Chinese fans for more snooker."
China's top player Ding Junhui added: "It's great news for the players and the Chinese fans that we will have a new ranking tournament in China next season."
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