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Ones To Watch – Gao Yang
Concluding our series on the best young amateurs from around the world…
Many young Chinese players have been touted as the next Ding Junhui, and Gao Yang is sure to be another if he continues his current rate of progress when he joins the World Snooker Tour for the first time next season.
Gao receives the WSF trophy from Nigel Mawer
In winning the inaugural WSF Junior Open in Malta in January at the age of just 15, he beat four of the players we have already featured in this Ones to Watch series, scoring wins over Ben Mertens, Dean Young and Wu Yize on his way to the final before a 5-2 success over Sean Maddocks.
Gao, who turns 16 in September, has been handed a tour card for the 2020/21 and 2021/22 seasons. He has also been awarded a place in the Betfred World Championship qualifiers in July.
His first taste of a pro tournament came at the 2019 World Open when, playing as a wild card, he lost 5-1 to Lu Ning.
Gao, who comes from the Anhui Province in southern China, may find relocating to the UK at such a young age to be a difficult challenge, moving thousands of miles away from his friends and family. But if he can embrace that aspect of turning pro, he has more than enough ability to thrive on the baize.