The hugely-anticipated Indian Open, the country’s first ever professional snooker tournament beginning in New Delhi on October 14, will give fans the opportunity to watch the world’s best players in action. India’s ace cueist Pankaj Advani has no doubt that the prestigious event will go a long way in lifting the profile of the sport in the country.
“It will be brilliant for spectators to see their heroes in action. The quality of the players in action here will help popularise snooker in India,” Advani said, at a press conference here on Sunday.
Advani, who has achieved considerable success after his recent foray into the professional snooker tour, stated that his rivals are excited about competing here. “Everyone on the tour is looking forward to it. India is a new destination, with new attractions. They usually play at the same venues year after year, which gets quite boring,” he said.
“For me, it is lovely to play in front of home-crowd. We usually travel far away to play with no support at overseas venues,” Advani said. Apart from the Bangalore cueist, India will be represented by Aditya Mehta and six wildcard entrants.
Captain P.V.K. Mohan, President, Billiards and Snooker Federation of India, mentioned that a technical team from the world body had visited the venue on Saturday. They had made a few suggestions which are being implemented, he said.
The Indian Open carries a total prize money of £300,000, with the Ministry of Tourism, State Bank of Hyderabad and a few others coming forward as sponsors. “The players will stay at the tournament venue (Le Meridien Hotel), which will ease the logistics involved in conducting the tournament. The players will also be more comfortable since they do not have to travel to the venue daily,” Mohan said.
Neo Sports will telecast the tournament in India, which will include five hours of live coverage per day. The action which is missed will be beamed as recorded pieces. Matches will be held over two sessions — 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.