STUART BINGHAM says it was a great honour to get an invite to this year’s star-studded BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards in Belfast.
Athletics hero Jessica Ennis-Hill, newly-crowned Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton and tennis world No 2 Andy Murray are among the favourites to win the coveted prize at the SSE Arena on Sunday, December 20.
But Bingham, whose fairytale world title win at the Crucible in May captured the imagination of the British sporting public, says he would love to be in the running for an award not won by a snooker pro since Steve Davis’ success 27 years ago.
Ball-run said: “I heard about the nomination from World Snooker and it is a great honour and it will be unbelievable to be in that type of company on the night.
“It is around the time of the qualifiers for the German Masters but World Snooker have said they will move my match if I want to go, which I appreciate.
“Now it’s just a case of seeing how many tickets I can get because I think it might just be a plus-one – and it won’t be easy to choose between the missus and the manager!”
Bingham is gearing up for a busy start to November after a disappointing 6-2 defeat to Yu De Lu in round one of the International Championship in China on October 26.
The Essex pro feels he is suffering a bit of a hangover from his world title win – which is reminiscent of his follow up season to his maiden ranking tournament win in Australia in 2011.
He said: “The defeat in China just sums up my season so far really. My B-game and safety is there but I’m just not scoring well enough.
“I think there’s pressure that comes with being world champion but now I just need to get back to basics, starting at the Bulgaria Open, and get some confidence back.”
Bingham will play against a qualifier at the Bulgaria Open in Sofia at 9.30am on Saturday, November 8, and will hope to progress to a next-round meeting with Mark Allen.
The tournament finishes on Sunday and then it is on to the ITV4-televivised Champion of Champions event – where Bingham will play the opening match at 1pm at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on Tuesday, November 10.
He said: “I’m one of the seeds and now we are waiting for the draw after the conclusion of the International Championship.
“I’m really looking forward to it because it is one of the best venues of the season and has that Premier League feel to it. It’s one-table and best of seven and good to play in.
“This is the event’s third year and Ronnie O’Sullivan has knocked me out the last two times. But he’s not there this time – so maybe I’ve got a chance!”