Snooker's top female player Reanne Evans described it as "a dream" and could become the first woman to compete at the Crucible after being awarded a place in the qualifying rounds of next month's World Championship.
Evans, who has won the World Ladies Championship for the past 10 years, will play in the qualifiers at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre in Sheffield in April.
The 29-year-old, from Dudley, will need to win three matches to reach the televised stages at the famous Crucible Theatre.
"It shows that everybody gets a chance if they work hard enough and can achieve their dreams," she said.
Evans, former partner of Ulster snooker star Mark Allen, made history last season as the first woman to compete in the final stages of a world ranking event, beating Thepchaiya Un-Nooh to qualify for the Wuxi Classic in China, where she lost to Zhu Yinghui.
The award of a World Championship place follows a change in structure to the qualifying rounds.
All players seeded outside the top 16 will start in the same round, with a total of 128 players competing in the qualifiers.
This has opened up extra places which will be given to any former world champions who wish to enter - though Ulster's 1985 hero Dennis Taylor has already ruled himself out - plus leading amateurs at the discretion of snooker's governing body, the WPBSA.
WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson said: "Reanne's achievements in the ladies game are incredible.
"She deserves the chance to play in the World Championship and she will be aiming to become the first woman ever to play in the main event at the Crucible.
"Reanne is a trail-blazer for female players around the world."