Mark Williams will defend his world title next month with another accolade after being awarded the freedom of his borough.
The three-time Crucible champion hails from the Welsh village of Cwm in the borough of Blaenau Gwent and was presented with the award on Thursday.
The 43-year-old was emotional at the Civic Centre in Ebbw Vale and said the framed certificate would take “pride of place” in his snooker room. Although the 10th person to receive the award, Williams is the first sportsperson and he appeared humbled by the experience.
“It’s nice to get it here with my family and friends, who have supported me over the years,” he said. “There aren’t many people that have had it so I’m over the moon.
“Just for people to put me up for it and think I’m worthy is nice. It’s an unbelievable feeling.”
Williams beat John Higgins in the 2018 Crucible final to claim his third World Championship crown and is priced at 21.00 to repeat the feat, with Ronnie O’Sullivan the 3.60 favourite.
Neither player is taking part in this week’s Gibraltar Open and another Welshman, Ryan Day, is top seed for the event.
The 38-year-old opens his account against 22-year-old German Lukas Kleckers on Saturday and is priced at 1.13 to advance, with his opponent on offer at 6.00.
Kyren Wilson is seeded two at Tercentenary Sports Hall and is 1.08 to take care of 31-year-old Northern Irishman Jordan Brown in round one, with the Antrim man available at 7.00 to progress.