The World Ladies Champion reflects on her recent trip to BBC Sports Personality of the Year, and looks ahead to the rest of the season.
How much did you enjoy your trip to Sports Personality of the Year in Belfast?
It was a special and memorable night for me. An amazing venue and an unbelievable atmosphere. I enjoyed sharing the night with a lot of stars and took a lot of photos too. It makes me want to work harder so I can earn the chance to go again sometime.
Was it an honour for you to be invited for the first time and to be one of the only athletes from Hong Kong?
Definitely an honour. Not only was I able to represent our sport, but also I was so grateful that the BBC and others were aware of an athlete like myself from a relatively small country like Hong Kong. I believe I may be the first ever Hong Kong athlete to be invited to the SPOTY awards which, if true, makes me extremely proud.
Did you meet any of your sporting heroes? Or anyone you really wanted to meet but didn’t get the chance?
I believe all the nominees were great stars with numerous outstanding achievements. I was inspired by all they had achieved. I had the honour of meeting a few stars, including Stuart Bingham, Dennis Taylor, Kevin Sinfield and boxing legend Barry McGuigan. But I must admit I was a little disappointed not to see David Beckham that night!
How do you feel about your results and performances on the World Ladies tour so far this season?
I think 2015 was a very positive year. However, a lot of people have asked whether this defines the pinnacle of my career. On the contrary, I believe this is only the beginning of a very long journey for me. Even the best player cannot guarantee winning every game, but I believe there’s still a lot for me to learn both on and off the table – and if I keep on learning, I can only get stronger.
You played in the Asian Tour event in Haining – would you like to play in more events like this if you have the chance?
Definitely. Of course I will be playing in the World Championship qualifiers this year so that will be a fantastic opportunity for me. If ladies are to play more of a part at the top of the sport, players like Reanne Evans, Maria Catalano, Wendy Jans, my Hong Kong team mates, myself and others need opportunities to compete in main tour events. This will inspire us and, hopefully, more young girls to put in the work we need to close gap in standards that exist currently. I am very well supported by the Hong Kong Sports Institute so there is no reason why I cannot travel to take part in any events I may be invited to compete in. I hope I will get more chances to attend main tour events in the coming year.
What are your plans and targets for the rest of this season?
I had the opportunity to practise with a few top male players earlier this season, including James Wattana, Stuart Bingham, Liang Wenbo and Ding Junhui. Playing stronger players has greatly improved my game and my technique. So, for the coming year I have already discussed with my coaches the wish to spend more time competing on the men’s tour and benefiting from more training in the UK. On top of that I just want to do everything I can to be a better player each and every day. The results will then hopefully take care of themselves.
Do you see many other talented female players coming through in Hong Kong?
In general, I see more talented females starting to participate at a higher level in Asia and across the world. In Hong Kong this also seems to be the case with players starting to learn from a much younger age. For example, my dad’s youngest student (Deng Deng) is only 6 years old. She currently practices with a special platform so she can reach the table with a special shortened cue – both tailor made by my ‘Superman’ dad! The Hong Kong Billiard Sports Control Council has also worked very hard to find new talent and a total of 19 schools recently competed in the inaugural Hong Kong Schools Championship. This means we are very hopeful that the long term future for Hong Kong snooker is very bright, and I will be very happy to see young players like Deng Deng following in my footsteps very soon!