Yaseem hoping to cash in at Barbican

Snooker coach Garry Baldrey with some of the 15 players from Sheffield's Star Snooker Academy competing at the UK Championships in York.
Snooker coach Garry Baldrey with some of the 15 players from Sheffield's Star Snooker Academy competing at the UK Championships in York.
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Hatem Yaseen is hoping to thrust himself into the spotlight at next week’s Betway UK Championship.

For 29-year-old Egyptian Yaseen, who turned professional this year after winning the African Championship, life on Tour is a financial struggle.

Yaseen – who plays Marco Fu in the first round at York next Wednesday evening – lives in a shared house in Rotherham with several other players from Sheffield’s Star Snooker Academy, but has no sponsors.

York is only his second ranking event, after losing 6-2 to Fergal O’Brien in the International Championship, and Yaseen hopes to gain national exposure.

“I hope I can settle down and play much better,” he said. “I am nervous, but ready.

“I have no sponsor, so need them so I can play on the Tour for the next two years.

“I have to pay everything myself, it’s tough, very expensive. I am looking for anyone to help me.

“But I won’t turn my back on snooker, I love this game.

“I must do my best to find a sponsor, to stay in England, and improve as a player,” added Yaseen, who has a two-year Tour card after beating former professional Mohamed Khairy 6–5 in the final of the African Championship.

The action in York cues off on Tuesday, when Doncaster’s Ian Glover plays Jamie Jones, and Leeds potter David Grace tackles Andrew Higginson.

Later that evening, it’s an all-Sheffield affair between Adam Duffy and Ding Junhui, while Steel City cueman Joel Walker faces Joe Swail.

On Wednesday, York amateur Ashley Hugill plays ex-world champion Shaun Murphy, while Leeds’s Sanderson Lam takes on Jamie Burnett. Keighley’s Chris Melling plays Dechawat Poomjaeng on Thursday, while Pickering’s Paul Davison is up against Kyren Wilson.