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A welcome shift

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Right on cue S. Balasubramaniam, vice-president of the BSFI
Right on cue S. Balasubramaniam, vice-president of the BSFI

Cue sports The proposal to locate the Billiards and Snooker Federation of India in Bangalore will prove to be a shot in the arm for the game

For some time now Bangalore has been the Mecca of cue sports in India. The recent move to headquarter the Billiards and Snooker Federation of India (BSFI) in this City is believed to be a shot in the arm.

It was way back in 2000-01 when Mohan Sinha was the president of the BSFI that the seeds of shifting the administrative set-up to Bangalore were mooted.

Many activities

With a bevy of activities like the Billiards and Snooker nationals, Pool nationals and Asian Snooker happening at the Karnataka State Billiards Association (KSBA) premises, the demand was justified. At the time the proposal was stalled as Karnataka was considered “new to the federation”.

In the following election, the activities trickled out of the president P.N. Roy’s office in Kolkata. “It made sense since the secretary (R. Kapoor) too hailed from Kolkata,” said S. Balasubramaniam, vice- president of the BSFI and former KSBA president, who along with the then secretary Subhahu Desai, made sure that KSBA remained a hospitable and lively association.

“The seeds we sowed then are bearing fruits today. The current set of office bearers in KSBA are doing a fantastic job, as well. There is lots of developmental work happening not only with state-of-the-art infrastructure that is taking shape with a Rs. 13 crore project and also initiatives with promotional programmes in school and colleges” said Bala, as he is fondly called.

“With the renovation and modernisation work in progress, the BSFI is presently functioning from a room in the KSBA and will shortly be shifted to the new administrative office. But the official registration of the office will happen only after the 2010 elections in Kolkata, since the shifting will have to be passed in the EC meeting.”

If the positives from this move are to be tabled, there are quite a few.

The Bangalore office is expected to be more accessible. With three office bearers — Capt. P.V.K. Mohan, the president from Hyderabad, S. Balasubramaniam and Aradhaya (treasurer) from the south, work is expected to speed up considerably.

Players and officials would find Bangalore more viable. With more avenues to involve corporates and major sponsors in the sport would bring about financial sustenance and in the process enable and support the State association.

Centre for excellence

BSFI has acquired 3.5 acre land in the outskirts of Hyderabad to start a Cue Sports academy, which should be operational in a couple of years time and will be having a Centre of Excellence based in Bangalore to develop and promote the sport, especially billiards amongst the Asian countries.

“Barring India, only Myanmar and Thailand have a rich tradition in billiards. We came up with this idea to revive and promote the game in other Asian countries. The proposal is with the Asian body, submitted in China, early May this year and hopefully should be accepted and moving within the next couple of months. Subash Agarwal, Manoj Kothari and World champion Geet Sethi are to be the coaches,” said Bala.

Shahbaz Adil Khan from Kolkata is an exciting new talent. Having reached the semi-finals of the Asian Under 21 in Pune last month, Shahbaz is indeed progressing well but with the BSFI-funded exposure trips to UK and later this year for two to Finland more and more talents are expected to emerge. Devendra Joshi, former national and Asian champion is doing a wonderful job in regard to the youth and junior programmes of the BSFI and the rewards will be seen soon enough” feels Bala.

AVINASH NAIR

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