Zhu Ying (诸瑛), sometimes known by her chosen English name of Ivy, is a Chinese snooker referee who has been officiating at the current World Snooker Championship.
Born in Shanghai in 1982, Zhu Ying is the first Chinese referee to appear at The Crucible. After lengthy training in China and several months in England she qualified to become one of the WPBSA (World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association) referees and started appearing in televised tournaments.
Zhu Ying is also a big hit with the Chinese fans and a visit to a snooker tournament isn't complete without having their photograph taken with her.
She maintains a page on Weibo, which is the Chinese equivalent of Facebook or Tumbler. It's very candid and you can see just how much enthusiasm she has for the game. She's also enticed fellow referee Michaela Tabb to join the site so that the Chinese fans can get to know here better.
In an interview over on The Snooker Blog, she revealed exactly how she got involved in the game:
Back in 1999 when I was still in high school, I was watching my very first snooker match which was one of the Shanghai Masters. I was suddenly into the beautiful green cloth in the TV and watched all the rest of the series. John did a perfect job and won the Champ at last. That was the start of my snooker dream – John was playing the match with the beautiful table. That’s also why people say John Higgins left me a great impression because when I started, he’s the one who happened to be there and playing.You can read the full interview (which was conducted at the end of last year) here:
The BBC also put together an interview with her recently and it's interesting to hear her speaking English:
I'll leave you now with some picture of Zhu Ying in action. If you'd like to see some behind-the-scenes stuff, she posts a lot of pictures to her Weibo page so it's well worth a look. She does tend to write in Chinese, but there are some posts in English too. (I happen to have a Chinese translation service sitting beside me, so it's easy for me).
Not to be confused with the character of Zhu Yingtai (祝英台) from the Chinese legend of 'The Butterfly Lovers' - pretty much the Chinese equivalent of Romeo and Juliet.
Nor should she be confused with the actress Zhu Ying (朱瑩).