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Barry Hearn hints snooker set to have its own ‘Luke Littler moment’ as long as they escape ‘goldfish bowl’

BARRY HEARN reckons snooker could have its own ‘Luke Littler moment’ – but that kid could be Chinese not British.

Littler was just 16 years old on his debut appearance when he made the world darts final over Christmas before losing to Luke Humphries.

Barry Hearn reckons snooker could have its own ‘Luke Littler moment'

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Barry Hearn reckons snooker could have its own ‘Luke Littler moment’Credit: Getty
Luke Littler has taken over the world of darts despite being just 17 years old

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Luke Littler has taken over the world of darts despite being just 17 years oldCredit: Alamy

Now 17, the Warrington ace has transformed the popularity of the sport to new levels and is backing up his talent by consistently beating the world’s best.

Snooker does not have the same quality of youngsters coming through right now.

But the best bet for the next superstar would be someone in the Far East where there are thousands enrolled in junior academies.

The retired sports promoter, 75, said: “Luke Littler took darts into the mainstream which means TV rights are worth more, sponsorship is worth more.

“More money comes in, prize money goes up. Now, can we get that in snooker? Absolutely. Why not?

“Providing we can invest enough in the grassroots and bring on the next level.

“We mustn’t live in this goldfish bowl, they don’t all have to be British.”

Even though Ronnie O’Sullivan, Mark Williams and John Higgins all became pros around the same time 32 years ago, they remain as competitive as ever as they look towards their 50s.

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O’Sullivan, 48, is world No.1 and has banked more than £1.2million in prize money this year while Williams, 49, lifted the Tour Championship in Manchester this month.

Hearn added: “It’s quite scary to look at it and also an unbelievable achievement by the players from the Class of 92.

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“The last major, the Tour Championships, who’s in the final? Mark Williams against Ronnie O’Sullivan.

“They are both coming up to 50-years-old. But you can’t say they weren’t there on merit. They are the best players in the world.”

Ronnie O’Sullivan has dominated snooker for most of his career

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Ronnie O’Sullivan has dominated snooker for most of his careerCredit: Getty

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