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‘Greatest sportsmanship I have ever seen’

RONNIE O’SULLIVAN showed astonishing sportsmanship in his World Snooker Championship match against Stuart Bingham.

With the 12th frame of the quarter-final tie on the line, O’Sullivan decided not to extend his break of 28.

Ronnie O’Sullivan asked if the black ball could be spotted again after it rocked forward
The black was placed very close to the cue ball
O’Sullivan felt uncomfortable despite the green light given to him by the referee
The Rocket then decided to play it safe when there was a pot on it

That’s because the world number one felt that the black ball was not accurately put back in place.

Referee Desislava Bozhilova ruled the ball was in the right position, but O’Sullivan was unsure and even called for his opponent to inspect.

O’Sullivan, 48, appeared concerned by the way the black was rocking forward despite the referee’s assurances that he had stayed in place, with commentator John Parrott describing it as a “terrible situation”.

After consultation, Bingham also gave The Rocket the green light, but O’Sullivan still felt uneasy about the situation and therefore decided to play a safety shot when the pot was up.

Co-commentator Neil Robertson responded, saying: “It’s unbelievable. If he plays it safe here it will probably be the greatest piece of sportsmanship I’ve ever seen in any sport.

‘Unbelievable. Incredible. He could have hoarded that red. I’ve never seen anything like it before.’

Parrott echoed Robertson’s sentiment as the pair compared O’Sullivan’s act to Paulo Di Canio catching the ball instead of scoring because the opposition goalkeeper was injured in a match between West Ham and Everton.

O’Sullivna went on to win the match

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Fans also praised O’Sullivan with one statement: “I’ve just seen Ronnie O’Sullivan with the greatest display of sportsmanship I’ve ever seen in world sport 👏🏻”

Another added: “Ronnie O’Sullivan is a class act above and beyond. Say what you will about him but he is definitely a true competitor in the purest sense of the world.”

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And a third said: “Ronnie O’Sullivan played it safe when he was clearly on red to avoid gaining an advantage? Ronnie has been a nightmare for the referees in the past but he was exemplary there.”

Bingham continued to clear and won the frame, tying the match at 6–6.

O’Sullivan and Bingham have previously played against each other 21 times and occasionally practiced together, and their mutual respect for each other was on full display at The Crucible.