Iulian Boiko will try to qualify for World Snooker Championship aged 14 after battling depression in lockdown

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IULIAN BOIKO will try to qualify for the World Snooker Championship aged 14 – and after battling depression.

The Ukrainian teenager – nicknamed the Kiev Dynamo – is the youngest person to compete for a Crucible place in 93 years.

Boiko, who has a Tour Card for the 2020-21 season, is one of 16 amateur players invited to qualifying at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield this month.

This follows his runner-up performance at the WSF Open in Malta where he was beaten by Ashley Hugill.

Boiko turns 15 in September, has made a 147 in less than six minutes and his hero is three-time world champion Mark Selby.

Yet he felt “lost” when the global Covid-19 pandemic forced the suspension of the World Snooker Tour.

He said: “In quarantine, I found myself a little bit in depression. Because we didn’t have any motivation.

“I didn’t know when the tournaments would start again. I just felt lost.

“I was in really good form and getting ready for the World Championship qualifiers in April.

“When the Coronavirus started, these tournaments were in doubt. I was really struggling to find motivation to practice.

“But now I know I will play next season, in 15 tournaments against the best players in the world, it’s the best feeling ever.

“This has definitely changed my life. It’s a big step forward. I am happy World Snooker have given me the opportunity to show what I am capable of.

“I hope I will live up to expectations, especially those who believe in me.”

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