The World Women’s Snooker Championship will begin on Tuesday (28 February) as the most prestigious tournament in women’s snooker returns to the Hi-End Snooker Club, Bangkok, Thailand.
To run from 28 February – 4 March, the tournament will once again be a World Snooker Tour qualifying event, with the champion set to earn a two-year tour card from the start of the 2023/24 season.
Previously held at the Hi-End Snooker Club in 2019 – when England’s Reanne Evans memorably claimed her record-extending 12th world title – the tournament returns with a field of over 50 players that boasts all of the world’s top 10 ranked performers and 17 of the top 20.
They will be joined by a number of talented players from further down the rankings, as well as those returning to or making their first appearances on the WWS Tour.
The main competition will see all 51 players start in the group stage, separated into 12 groups, with the top two players from each set to progress to the knockout rounds. Two players have been seeded per group, in accordance with the latest world ranking list.
Heading up the opening group will be England’s Mary Talbot-Deegan, who will be looking to improve upon her career-best quarter-final run at the tournament back in 1997.
Up to a career-best position of number seven in the world rankings following a season that has seen her reach her maiden semi-final and two further quarter-finals, Talbot-Deegan will be joined in the group by compatriot Connie Stephens, who is set to play in her third World Championship following appearances in 2019 and 2022.
The seeded pair will face India’s Devanshi Galundia – who also played in the event at Hi-End in 2019 – as well as 11-year-old Phakwalan Gong-gaew of host nation Thailand, who will make her Tour debut this week.
Three-time world champion Ng On Yee will begin her quest for a fourth world title in an all-Asia group of four players.
Since she claimed back-to-back world crowns in 2017 and 2018, Ng has since suffered consecutive quarter-final defeats to Thailand’s Mink Nutcharut at the Tour’s premier event.
Fellow Hong Kong player Yee Ting Cheung will be the second seeded player in the group (with the nationality separation rule not applying to the group seeds) as she looks to advance beyond the last 16 stage for the first time following knockout runs in 2018 and 2019.
Also present will be Thailand’s Waratthanun Sukritthanes – World Cup winner in 2019 and three-time World Championship quarter-finalist – who was unseeded in the draw having not competed on the circuit since prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The group is completed by India’s Mohitha RT. who will be playing in a WWS Tour event for the first time.
England’s Jamie Hunter is set to contest her second World Championship following her semi-final run on debut a year ago.
Following a breakthrough sophomore campaign which saw her claim consecutive ranking titles in Seattle and Sydney, the 26-year-old will compete in Thailand for the first time with the opportunity to gain further ground on the top four ranked players.
Miina Tani of Japan – who reached her maiden semi-final at the Australian Women’s Open back in October – has also been seeded into the group and will compete in her third successive World Championship.
Completing the group are 17-year-old Thai talent Pimchanok Phoemphu who returns to the Tour having also appeared in 2019, as well as Anupama Ramachandran of India who will make her debut.
The fourth group will be led by current world number 10 Steph Daughtery, who will be making her fifth appearance in the competition to date. Having reached the knockout rounds in both 2019 and 2022, the 21-year-old will be targeting a place in the last 16 on her return to Bangkok.
Standing in her way in the group stage will be fellow English player Zoe Killington – who is competing in Asia for the first time and celebrated her 17th birthday last week in Thailand.
The unseeded duo of Bayarsaikhan Mungunchimeg from Mongolia and India’s Natasha Chethan – winner of the Challenge Cup at the recent Asia-Pacific Women’s Championship earlier last month – will also be hoping to reach the knockout rounds.
Emma Parker reached the quarter-finals of the World Championship for the first time in 2022 and will be targeting another strong showing in what is only her third appearance in the competition to date.
She is joined by the experienced Jaique Ip Wan In of Hong Kong, who was a semi-finalist in 2015 and can count a further five quarter-final runs from her previous 11 showings at the World Championship.
Also present in the group will be 15-year-old Thai player Panchaya Channoi, who reached the knockout rounds of the Women’s Snooker World Cup last week as part of the Thailand C team, as well as Ishika Shah of India who will be making her Tour debut.
The first of three groups of five in the tournament, Group F will see England’s Rebecca Kenna looking to at least maintain her imperious record of four semi-final finishes from her five appearances in the competition to date.
The world number four is paired with fellow seed Lilly Meldrum, who celebrated her 15th birthday on the eve of the tournament and has risen quickly up the rankings with semi-final runs at the Australian Women’s Open and Asia-Pacific Women’s Snooker Championship so far this season.
Hong Kong’s Mei Mei Fong will make her third appearance in the competition having previously reached the last 16 in both 2018 and 2019
The group also sees the oldest and youngest players in the field as 73-year-old Renu Bharaktiya will make her first Tour appearance since the 2006 edition of the tournament, alongside 11-year-old Natcharin Soraprasert of Thailand.
Group G will see the return of Belgian star Wendy Jans following her memorable run to the final a year ago which saw her narrowly miss out upon claiming the Mandy Fisher Trophy for the first time in Sheffield.
Also a recent finalist at the Belgian Open, Jans will begin her campaign against reigning World Women’s Seniors Champion Tessa Davidson, who she defeated at the last 16 stage in Bruges.
Charlene Chai of Singapore will make her first appearance on the Tour since the 2019 World Championship, with her last 16 run in 2017 representing her best run to date, while Battogtokh Battuya of Mongolia will make her debut.
Germany’s Diana Schuler begins her campaign in Group H following a season which has so far seen her reach her maiden ranking event quarter-final at the US Women’s Open and claim her first title in the Seniors event at the Scottish Women’s Open.
She has been paired with Ho Yee Ki of Hong Kong, fresh from her maiden ranking event semi-final at the Asia-Pacific Snooker Championship in Sydney and set to make her third appearance in the tournament.
Sanvi Shah of India makes her debut, alongside Chanidapha Wongharuthai, sister of reiging world champion Mink Nutcharut, who also appeared at the event in 2019.
Thailand’s Siripaporn Nuanthakhamjan returns to the World Championship for the first time since her run to the semi-finals in 2019 and arrives in strong form following her final appearance at the recent Asia-Pacific Women’s Championship.
She is joined by five-time World Championship runner-up Maria Catalano, who will compete in Asia for the first time since the 2017 edition in Singapore and has celebrated her birthday prior to the start of the tournament.
India’s Pooja Galundia also returns in Group I to compete in her fifth World Championship, while Sergelenbaatar Byambasuren of Mongolia is set to make her debut appearance.
Ploychompoo Laokiatphong will make her first appearance on the World Women’s Snooker Tour as a ranking event champion following her success at the Asia-Pacific Women’s Snooker Championship earlier this month.
A quarter-finalist in 2019, Laokiatphong will begin her latest campaign in a tricky group which also includes Australian number one Jessica Woods, who reached her first ranking event final earlier this season at the Australian Women’s Championship and has previously reached the last 16 of the World Championship on four occasions.
They are joined by Hong Kong’s Man Yan So, a three-time quarter-finalist in the tournament, as well as Bayarsaikhan Narantuya of Mongolia, who impressed during the Women’s Snooker World Cup held prior to the World Championship.
The penultimate section will see the return of record 12-time world champion Reanne Evans to the tournament that she last won at the same venue in 2019 .
Evans will begin against Scotland’s Sophie Nix, with the 14-year-old set to make her second appearance in the competition following her debut in 2022.
The group will also see the return of 2017 World Championship runner-up Vidya Pillai to the Tour for the first time since the Indian player narrowly lost out to Ng On Yee in Singapore on the final pink.
Also in the group will be Chu Pui Ying of Hong Kong, who also achieved her best World Championship result six years ago when she reached the last 16, as well as 18-year-old Thai player Saravalee Songsermsawad.
Group L will see the return of world number one Mink Nutcharut to the tournament that she won so dramatically 12 months ago in Sheffield to join the small list of players to have lifted The Mandy Fisher Trophy.
The 23-year-old has been handed an interesting draw that will see her take on Anna Lynch of Australia – who made her debut in the event in 2022 – alongside Bai Yulu, Amee Kamani and Louise Foster in the final five-player group.
China’s Bai is poised to make her Tour debut at the age of 19 and has been widely touted as a player to watch, while India’s Kamani is also a previous title winner on the circuit having claimed success at the Challenge Cup tournament at the 2017 World Championship.
Scotland’s Louise Foster is set to compete in her fifth consecutive ranking event tournament since her entry at the Scottish Women’s Open last October – each having been staged in five different countries (Scotland, England, Belgium, Australia and Thailand).
Alongside the main competition, there will also be side-tournaments staged for the Under-21 and Seniors players on 28 February 2023. Subject to time, the final of each competition may be held over until later in the week.
Won in 2022 by number one ranked players Ploychompoo Laokiatphong and Tessa Davidson respectively, both tournaments will be contested by a strong field, with four players seeded within each draw.
The action gets underway on Tuesday from 10:00am ICT with the latest match results and standings available via WPBSA SnookerScores.