The opening ceremony on the Sunday before play got under way at the China Open took place in the grand surroundings of the Birds Nest, the iconic stadium for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
Players all climbed aboard a coach for the short trip from the hotel, and many grabbed the chance for some pictures of the arena and track where Usain Bolt shot to prominence with an astonishing three gold medals and three world records seven years ago in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay with Jamaica.
Shaun Murphy and Jason Ferguson did their bit with some trackside interviews with Rob Walker, bigging up snooker’s bid to try and join the Olympics party at some point in the future (Murphy's Bolt impression could yet go viral), and the red carpet procession saw the 64 players (less one or two absentees) led through a hall containing a galaxy of silver statues on the arm of a Beijing belle before the formal speeches.
And defending champion Ding Junhui, pictured with leading Chinese woman player Shi Chun Xia in the parade, created the fashion waves in a natty three-piece check green suit.
Walker, a well-known figure on the snooker circuit with his presenting and MC work, also has many media commitments in his other passion of athletics, and took the opportunity to drop in at the Beijing event n for a couple of days on his way home from Guiyang and the World Cross Country Championships.
Photograph courtesy of top147