Ladies snooker star Reanne Evans will get the chance to reach the World Championships after being invited to a qualifying event in Sheffield.
Evans, who has won the World Ladies Championship for the past ten consecutive years, will take a place in the sport’s biggest event at Ponds Forge I in April. She will need to win three qualifying matches to reach the televised stages at the Crucible.
The move comes about after a revamp of the qualifying for the sports’ top tournament. All players seeded outside the top 16 will start in the same round, with a total of 128 players competing in the qualifiers. This has opened up extra places, which will be given to any former World Champions who wish to enter, plus leading amateur players at the discretion of snooker’s governing body, the WPBSA.
“The WPBSA has successfully developed several initiatives to get more women involved in snooker,” said Jason Ferguson, Chairman of the WPBSA. “At grass roots level, our Cue Zone Into Schools programme has been rolled out to 36 schools across England, encouraging girls and boys to play the sport.
“We are working with Ladies Snooker to bring their events under our governance where we can provide sound sports development. World Ladies already has over 40 players on their official World Ranking list and it is our vision to use this as a starting point to see ladies’ snooker grow.
“We also have Ladies Day during the World Championship, offering free coaching and raising awareness on how to get involved. Snooker is one of the most accessible sports in the world. Regardless of age or gender, there are plenty of opportunities to play at the top level or to develop careers in refereeing or coaching.”