Delhi to host Indian Open

300,000-pound event to provide fillip to cue sport

Delhi to host Indian Open

The cue sport in India is set to get a big fillip with the hosting of the 300,000 pounds Indian Open World Ranking Snooker tournament from October 14-18 here.

This is the first time India is hosting a world ranking tournament snooker which promises the participation of stars like Ronnie O'Sullivan, Steve Davis, John Higgins, Mark Selby. The event is for all professional players with the winner walking away with attractive prize money of 50,000 pounds.

The qualifiers for the five-day tournament, with 128 cueists, would be played in England and top 64 players would fly down here for the competition.

For India, it would be a brilliant opportunity for its two best players -- eight-time World champion in cue sport (seven billiards and two snooker titles) Pankaj Advani and last year’s Asian snooker champion Aditya Mehta – to showcase their talent in front of the home crowd. Apart from them, India would also be fielding six wild card entries to make it a 70-player event to be played on four tables.

“It is for the first time an authentic world ranking tournament has been held in India. It will inspire many aspiring cueists to take up the sport seriously. We have excellent players in Pankaj and Aditya. When the crowd see them play against the top world players, they will understand what they have achieved. The players like O’Sullivan, Steve Davis; they are like the gladiators in snooker. I am confident that it is going to be a top-class event,” eet Sethi, a seven-time World Champion, told reporters.

The Billiards and Snooker Federation of India (BSFI) also signed a three-year contract with the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association for hosting the event.

“We have signed contact with long term plan of developing the sport from the grassroots. India has no dearth in talent. We hope the ranking tournament of this magnitude will motivate the upcoming players,” Jason Ferguson, chairman of the world body, said. 

BSFI president PVK Mohan hoped India would be able to follow the model of China in popularising the sport in the country. “China started modestly but today is a powerhouse in sport. By signing the contract with world body, we too want that cue sport gets more popularity in India.”

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