Who was the youngest player to qualify for the World Snooker Championship?

The youngest player to qualify for the World Snooker Championship was Luca Brecel. Born in Dilsen-Stokkem, Belgium on Matrch 8, 1995, Brecel was 17 years, 1 month and 7 days old when he beat Mark King 10-8 in his fourth and final best-of-19-frame qualifying match at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield on April 15, 2012. He had previously beaten Ian McCulloch 10-2, Barry Pinches 10-3 and Michael Holt 10-9 to earn his place in the main draw for the 2012 World Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre, also in Sheffield, a week later. He drew eighth seed Stephen Maguire in the first round, losing that best-of-19-frame match 10-5.

After qualifying for the World Snooker Championship at the first attempt, Brecel did not qualify again until 2017, when he lost 10-9 to Marco Fu in the first round, despite leading 5-0, 7-1 and 8-4. He lost again in the first round in 2018, 2019 and 2022, on the latter occasion when seeded eleven by virtue of his world ranking and, until 2023, had never progressed beyond the last-32 stage at the Crucible Theatre.

In a timely turn of events, at the time of writing, the ‘Belgian Bullet’ is enjoying his best run ever at the World Snooker Championship. Seeded nine, he has, so far, beaten Ricky Walden 10-9 in the first round, three-time world champion Mark Williams 13-11 in the second, and recovered from 10-6 behind to beat defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan 13-10 in the quarter-final, reeling off seven straight frames in less than an hour and a half. He currently trails Chinese debutante Si Jiahui 14-10 in his best-of-33-frames semi-final, but has forced his way back into the match, having looked likely to lose with a session to spare at 14-5 behind.

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