Chinese referee Zheng Weili will take charge of a ranking event final for the first time at the International Championship on Sunday.
The world ranking event reaches its conclusion in Chengdu on Sunday with the best-of-19 final, and Zheng will be putting on the white gloves.
“I finished my quarter-final match this afternoon then I was told by the tournament director that I was going to referee the final,” he said. “I never thought that I’d be in charge on Sunday, I expected just to do one of the semi-finals. I’ve been the man in the middle during a final before, at the World Cup in Thailand, but when it comes to the full ranking tournaments I had only done semi-finals at the Shanghai Masters and Haikou World Open.
“I’m excited. I never thought it would happen, especially in a ranking major in China. It takes a lot of effort to become a qualified referee, and you have to begin with very basic skills, until you master all the specific details. As time goes by you get more and more experienced, so I suppose the day when you are appointed to take charge of a big final will eventually come.
“I have learned a lot from foreign top class referees and I do think they do their jobs in a meticulous way. They move around the table and choose their positions so well, which impressed me the most. It’s a great chance to learn from my western colleagues by watching their performance during matches, and communicating with them. World Snooker referees are all very nice and professional.
“I have to rest well on Saturday because I have one day off, so I am physically prepared for the final, as it’s the most important ranking tournament held in China, and the second biggest event on the calendar. I will visit the UK and other parts of the world and referee an overseas tournament one day, when I’m ready.”