Anthony Hamilton has decided to withdraw from the Betfred World Championship for medical reasons.
Hamilton came through the qualifying rounds, winning two matches, but subsequently decided to pull out of the event as he suffers from chronic asthma.
He had been due to face Kyren Wilson in the last 32 at the Crucible on Friday afternoon, with the second session on Saturday evening. Wilson now receives a bye to the last 16.
“It has been a really difficult decision for me,” said 49-year-old Hamilton, from Nottingham. “I was extremely impressed by the way that WST and their partners ran the qualifying rounds, they made the players feel totally safe. And I realise they have followed all of the government guidelines and implemented extensive measures for the main event at the Crucible. However due to my health condition, after careful consideration I have decided not to play in the final stages.
“I want to apologise to my opponents at the qualifiers, Sam Craigie and Scott Donaldson, and assure them that I had every intention of playing at the Crucible. But it was only after I finished the qualifying rounds that I was able to do a full personal risk assessment based on the latest information and discussions with WST.
“I am absolutely gutted not to be playing because it is the best tournament and the Crucible is the home of snooker. I wish everyone the best and hope the event is a great success.”
World number 48 Hamilton will receive the £20,000 he earned by reaching the last 32 and that will count towards his world ranking.