Snooker: China's Ding becomes first Asian world No. 1

LONDON (REUTERS) - China's Ding Junhui has become the first Asian player to reach the top of the world snooker rankings.

The 27-year-old, who won five titles in in the 2013-14 season, is the 11th world No. 1 since the rankings started in 1976.

Ding joined an illustrious group of players to achieve the top ranking including seven-times world champion Stephen Hendry, Ray Reardon, Steve Davis and Ronnie O'Sullivan.

"It's a great achievement," World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association chairman Barry Hearn said.

"The goal for him is out there now. Can he win the World Championship and bring the crown back to China. The fact is, he's not world No. 1 by luck, he has got there on performance."

Ding, Australian Neil Robertson and Canadian Cliff Thorburn, are the only non-British players to top the rankings.