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Snooker star Ding rewarded for China Open win
Updated: 2005-04-05 14:16

Chinese teenager Ding Junhui has been rewarded with 50,000 US dollars plus a luxury apartment for his historic win at last week's China Open.

The reward was presented by local snooker manufacturer Star at a ceremony in Beijing on Monday with a view of making up for his ineligibility forthe prize money of the tournament due to his wildcard status.

Ding pulled out of the qualifiers after being invited into the tournament as a wildcard in order to ensure he could play in his native country.

But his win has been hailed all over the country as a historic breakthrough for the sport in China.

Ding, who celebrated his 18th birthday last week, came from behind to beat world champion Stephen Hendry 9-5 in front of a television audience estimated at 100 million.

The victory wrote the teenager into the history book as he became the first Asian winner of a ranking tournament in 10 years.

The last Asian for such a feat was James Wattana who won his first Thailand Open title in 1994.

Ding is also the first player to win a ranking tournament as a wildcard and the second youngest ever winner of a ranking title, just nine days older than Ronnie O'Sullivan when he won the 1993 UK Championship.

"His success is a milestone for the Chinese snooker, "said Li Gaochao, a senior official in charge of the sport in China.

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