Top Ten Young Guns
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: March 20, 2013 4:02pm
After 12-year-old Chinese schoolboy Ye Wocheng became the youngest player to qualify for a European Tour event, we look at some of sport's other young guns to have made a big impact over the years.
Here's some of the top young stars to light up the world of sport over the years - let us know your thoughts below.
The Little Master made his Test debut aged just 16 years and 223 days when he faced fierce rivals Pakistan - making just 15 but fronting up well to some hostile bowling. He scored 100 not out on debut for Bombay almost a year earlier. He's gone on to break records, making 100 international centuries and passing 34,000 runs in all cricket to now be in the argument with Don Bradman for the greatest batsman of all time.
Michael Chang wins the French Open
Michael Chang became the youngest man to win a Grand Slam title when he defied all the odds to win the French Open title in 1989 aged just 17. Chang produced an amazing comeback to beat Ivan Lendl despite suffering cramp in the fourth round, before defeating Stefan Edberg in the final to propel himself into tennis stardom. It was to be Chang's only major title though, but the manner of his win ensured his name was etched into tennis folklore.
In a sport littered with young breakthroughs, Hingis stands a class above having become the youngest Grand Slam champion when she won the Wimbledon doubles title alongside Helena Sukova back in 1994 at just 15 years and nine months. Hingis followed that by becoming the youngest Grand Slam singles champion six months later as she claimed the Australian Open against Mary Pierce.
Alberto "Baby" Arizmendi
We're heading all the way back to 1914 for this one to talk about the youngest boxer ever to turn pro when he did so at the tender age of just 13. No pushover though, Arizmendi was said to be a strong go-forward fighter and he went on to win the featherweight world title.
Jennifer Capriati started young
A three-time Grand Slam champion and Olympic gold medallist, Capriati was one of the original teen superstars as she made her professional tennis debut at just 13 years and 11 months. She later became the youngest woman to break into the top ten in the world rankings at just 14 years and 235 days. She started so young she even burnt out earlier with a troubled four-month break from tennis coming in 1993 at the tender age of just 17 - but she recovered to win her share of Grand Slam glory.
Cracking it in rugby league as a teenager is a tough prospect, but Shaun Edwards made a big splash after signing for Wigan for £35,000 on his 17th birthday. Six months later Edwards became the youngest player to play in a Challenge Cup final during the 1984 showpiece, and was the youngest captain four years later as he led Wigan out during what turned out to be a stellar career with the team.
Billed as the next Pele, young Ghanaian-born American Adu burst onto the scenes aged just 14, becoming the youngest player and youngest scorer in MLS history and was instantly tipped for stardom given his talented dribbling style. Although he spent four years with Benfica, he never managed to make it in Europe and he is now back in America playing for Philadelphia.
A young Wayne Rooney at Everton
The second-youngest player in Everton history announced himself on English football with a late wonder strike against Arsenal just before his 17th birthday. He was then the youngest player to play for England, before Theo Walcott came along, and is still his country's youngest ever goalscorer. His ferocious tenacity was obvious even as a teenager, and that has stayed with him as he has gone on to be one of England's best players and one of the best in the world.
The Rocket is snooker's enigma and is now known as the most naturally gifted player in snooker, and it all started at the age of ten when he made his first century. A first maximum 147 soon followed and he became the youngest player to make one during a tournament when he knocked it in at the 1991 English Amateur Championship. He took the UK title at 17 as the youngest ever winner of a ranking event.
Saving the best to last some might say - we've had a couple of 'new Peles' on the list already and now for the original - Edison Arantes do Nascimento. Started playing for Santos at 15 and scored for Brazil on his debut at 16, before going on to set numerous records. Was the youngest World Cup scorer in Sweden in 1958, and made that the youngest winner when he scored twice in the final win over the hosts - the rest, as they say, is history.