Andhra chief minister K. Rosaiah formally inaugurated the 35th IBSF world snooker tournament here on Saturday at an hour-long function which was also attended by union Information and Broadcasting minister Ambika Soni.
There was a sizeable turnout at the massive Hyderabad International Convention Centre hall, the venue, with players dressed in their playing attire (bow-tie) in attendance.
The formal inauguration was followed by a trick shot session hosted by eight times World billiards champion Geet Sethi, Welshman Darren Morgan, the 1987 snooker champion, and the three times Masters winner Deane O’Kane of New Zealand.
Speaking on the sidelines of the function, India No.1 and winner of the 2003 edition Pankaj Advani said the playing conditions were an unknown quantity and could impact the performance.
“Nobody quite knows how the balls would behave and respond as also the strength of the side cushions, besides the lighting. Hopefully, we will be able to settle down to the conditions quickly,” he said.
Meanwhile, two other top Indian title prospects, Aditya Mehta and Manan Chandra, who won the team event gold medal at the Asian Indoor Games earlier this month, admitted that they needed to be far more consistent if they hope to do well in the tournament here.
Chandra, the 28-year-old from Delhi, who missed out on a bronze medal at the Indoor Games, said: “I know I have not been consistent enough. I had one bad match and lost out on the medal. I need to be consistent here and my immediate target is to qualify for the knock-out stage from my group.”
Mehta, who has been making waves on the domestic scene with victories over every top player, said he was in good nick and the gold medal in the Indoor Games was a huge confidence boost.
“I have been playing virtually non-stop over the past few months and so I am in good touch. I do not feel any pressure of playing at home here, but you never know what happens when the match begins,” he said.