Billiards and Snooker Federation of India (BSFI) President S. Balasubramaniam would like to see more Indian players compete on the professional snooker circuit.
Balasubramaniam, elected unopposed to the post at the BSFI AGM a few days ago, stated that unless more Indians feature in the professional ranks, “the game will not go anywhere”.
“Professional snooker circuit is where the money is. Sadly, there is only one Indian there - Himanshu Jain. Going by the size of our country and the number of players we have, India should have at least 20 players in the top-128 on the pro circuit. For that to happen, we need to set up basic infrastructure, and we should be able to fund players to go abroad for training. Professional snooker tournaments attract spectators and eyeballs. People want to see the best in action. Unless Indians are in the pro circuit, this game will not go anywhere,” Balasubramaniam said here on Thursday.
The Indian Open, the lone professional snooker tournament in the country, was last held in 2019. Balasubramaniam stated that the Indian Open is set to be revived.
“We are working on the Indian Open. The next Indian Open should be held in the next 12 to 18 months. We are also keen to take forward the professional league which we held for a year,” the experienced administrator said.
A contract has been signed to host the next five national championships at SAGE University at Indore, Balasubramaniam said. This is an ideal deal, given the rising costs of hosting national championships.
“Hosting national championships have become harder by the year. We get around 1,250 to 1,300 entries across categories each year; the number of matches is mind boggling. An association like Karnataka State Billiards Association (KSBA), which has its own facility, can manage to host a national championship. But for most other States, it is far too expensive. This problem has been addressed with a five-year contract with SAGE University in Indore. They will host the national championships for the next five years,” Balasubramaniam said.
The BSFI plans to host more tournaments in tier two and three cities, Balasubramaniam said. He added that the association aims to train at least six to eight BSFI-accredited coaches in every State.
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