Chennai, Nov 10 (PTI) The upcoming National Billiards & Snooker Championships is set to take place from November 21 at the Nehru Indoor Stadium here.
It will be the 90th edition of the national championship and the first edition to be held in the city since 2011.
The event will be held for over 30 days and conclude on December 25, with around 1,500 cueists across formats and age groups expected to participate.
It would also include the likes of Aditya Mehta, Rafath Habib, Vidya Pillai, Brijesh Damani, Shrikrishna Suryanarayan and Anupama Ramachandran.
The divisions expected at the event are Senior billiards & snooker for men and women, Masters snooker, 6 Reds Snooker for men and women and sub-junior and junior billiards & snooker for boys and girls.
"If you consider snooker in Europe, it is making more money than cricket, while the prize money too is quite high, nearly at par with Wimbledon tennis, which is GBP 2,50,000," Tamil Nadu Billiards and Snooker Association (TNBSA) vice-president Rajmohan told PTI.
"It's all being possible because of the visual (television) media. Gradually, with enough support, I assure you 100% that we can gain immense popularity next to cricket. It is how the sport has gained popularity in England." Echoing Rajmohan's thoughts, TNBSA president BG Muralidharan said that the biggest challenge for Indian snooker is to reach the masses, especially at the grassroots level.
"We have to reach out to more schools and universities; that's how cricket has developed and gained popularity (in the country)." Billiards and snooker are some of the indoor sports which are yet to make it to the Olympics, and Rajmohan said efforts are being made to ensure that it is included in the editions beyond 2028 Los Angeles Games.
"England and even China has come up very well (in the sport). They are all strong countries, alongside France and Germany. If these four nations push for it, it will certainly be included in the Olympics," he said.
"After television and social media began spreading the sport, the viewership has peaked, and it will keep escalating in the coming years. So, if this trend keeps going upwards, we will certainly get there (in the Olympics)," he signed off. PTI AYG ATK ATK