The UK Championship is one of the biggest tournaments of the season in snooker and this year it will feature India’s Himanshu Jain. The 31-year-old will be making his debut in the event in York, and he will be hoping to show the world what he is capable of.
Jain only just turned professional earlier this year after earning himself a two-year World Snooker Tour card at the Asia & Oceania Q School event. That was a huge achievement for the man from Telangana as it gives him the chance to prove himself against the world’s best until at the least the end of the 2023-24 season.
The world number 107 will begin the UK Championship in round one which consists of 144 players. If he is to lift the trophy, he will need to win nine matches at the event. The top 16 in the world, including Ronnie O’Sullivan, who is one of the +450 favorites in the UK Championship odds, receive a bye into the fourth round.
Jain Has Featured at Championship League
In his first event as a professional, Jain played at the Champions League earlier this season. He was drawn into group 12 at the event, and he fared well, eventually finishing second behind Northern Ireland Open winner Mark Allen. Unfortunately for the Indian player, that was not enough to progress into the second stage.
The pick of Jain’s results at the Championship League was his 3-0 victory over Stuart Carrington. The Englishman has featured at the Crucible in the World Championship on three occasions, so it was a good win against a highly ranked player.
Jain has also featured in this season’s British Open, Northern Ireland Open and English Open, but unfortunately, he has been beaten in the qualifying round in each of those events. In the latter, the most recent tournament, he was beaten by former ranking semi-finalist Craig Steadman in what was a tough draw.
Vafaei Showed What Was Possible at 2022 Snooker Shoot Out
Many players in Asia will be inspired by what Hossein Vafaei achieved earlier this year at the 2022 Snooker Shoot Out. The Iranian defeated Mark Williams in the final of the ranking event to become the first player from his country to win a tournament on the World Snooker Tour.
Vafaei has been on an impressive rise in the rankings since turning professional in 2012. The Prince of Persia had reached four ranking event semi-finals before his win in Leicester, but lifting the trophy in the Snooker Shoot Out was by far the greatest achievement of his career so far.
There is also continued success from Chinese players in ranking events over the last 12 months. Ding Junhui became a ranking winner in 2005 and since then, there has been a huge wave of players participating in snooker in the country.
The future looks very bright for Jain and should he continue his rise in the sport, he may be set to continue making history for India.