Chinese referee Peggy Li has been at the Betway UK Championship throughout the event. We caught up with her to find out how much she has enjoyed the fortnight in York.
By Joshua Dykes
Peggy, what’s it been like for you here in York over the past two weeks?
The UK Championship is a fantastic event and I’ve always wanted to go since I started refereeing with World Snooker. The venue is absolutely amazing. This is my first time in York and before I came here everyone said that it’s one of the best cities in the UK. If I got the chance to move here, I would definitely live in York. I’ve heard there’s a Harry Potter shop here as well so I can’t wait to see it.
Have you seen snooker grow in China over the past decade, especially at grassroots level?
Yes definitely. I remember the 2013 world under-21 event in China and I was really surprised and impressed by the standard of the young Chinese players. Now in Beijing we have the WPBSA and CBSA Snooker Academy and there are so many talented players there. I keep seeing more of them come on to the pro tour every year. There are 22 Chinese players on the tour now which is more than ever before, and many of the teenagers are doing really well like Yan Bingtao.
What are your own goals for the future as a referee?
Working at the World Championship at the Crucible is definitely one of my ambitions. In China, Beijing is my home town so I would love to referee the final of the China Open one day, that would be great.
How did you get into refereeing, and do you have advice for anyone who would like to get involved?
I started playing snooker in 1999 when I was in Australia studying. I played and refereed league snooker every year until 2013. If you love the sport you don’t have to be a really good player, but when you’re not playing you can help out as a referee. We encourage lots of younger people to help out whenever they’re free. That’s how you can be a good referee in the future.