In a new Sports Marketing Intelligence (SMI) poll amongst World Snooker's market research community, Yan Bingtao was touted as the most likely to become the next global star of the sport.
The 17-year-old Chinese prodigy received 35% of the vote following his debut professional season where he qualified for the last 16 at seven ranking events and was named World Snooker’s ‘Rookie of the Year’ in May.
Belgium’s Luca Brecel came in with 20% of the vote while Zhou Yuelong (13%) rounded out the top three selected among snooker’s most promising young stars.
In a further breakdown of the market research results, Bingtao was shown to be the favourite across all age groups with the exception of 18-24 year olds, of whom 31% were behind his Chinese compatriot, Zhou Yuelong.
The Chinese contingent, with the addition of Zhao Xintong, picked up a total of 56% of the vote, illustrating a strong public sentiment around the quality of the nation’s young snooker players; something Barry Hearn, chairman of World Snooker, agrees with.
Earlier this year, he told BBC Sport that, “In five years, half of the top 32 players will be Chinese”.
The sport has enjoyed exponential growth in China off the back of Ding Junhui’s continued success over the last 12 years.
Poll: Among the rising youngsters, who do you think is set to be the world’s next leading snooker star?
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