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Friday, May 6, 2022

Hail the Snooker Champion who can play with both hands !!


We spend more time in watching Cricket and dissecting interesting aspects of every game .. .. may not have followed or read about  O'Sullivan!


Read that he  struggled during his career with depression, mood swings, and drug and alcohol abuse, and has been disciplined multiple times   for his behaviour and comments. Outside his playing career, he is a presenter, written crime novels, autobiographies and a health and fitness book!  Known for his fast and attacking style of play, O'Sullivan gained the nickname "The Rocket" after winning a best-of-nine frame match in a record 43 minutes during his debut season as a professional. He is right-handed but can play to a high standard with his left hand and routinely alternates where needed, enabling him to attempt shots with his left hand that would otherwise require a rest or spider.  When he first displayed this left-handed ability in the 1996 World Championship against Alain Robidoux, the Canadian accused him of disrespect and refused to shake hands after the match.

Ronald Antonio O'Sullivan,  English professional snooker player - is the current world champion and world number one. Widely recognised as one of the most talented and accomplished players in the history of the sport, he has won the World Snooker Championship seven times, a modern era record he holds jointly with Stephen Hendry. He has also won a record seven Masters and record seven UK Championship titles.  O'Sullivan is one of a triad of players known as the Class of '92, all of whom were born in 1975, turned professional in 1992, and have won a combined 14 world titles.

In our young age, we read more about – Geet Sethi. Geet Sethi dominated the sport throughout much of the 1990s. He is also a notable amateur (ex-pro) snooker player. He is a five-time winner of the professional-level and a three-time winner of the amateur world championships, and holder of two world records, in English billiards. Along with Prakash Padukone, Sethi has co-founded Olympic Gold Quest, a foundation for the promotion of sports in India.

To the uninformed like me – Billiards and Snooker confuses !!   Billiards is a cue sport that combines the aspects of carom billiards and pool. Two cue balls (one white and one yellow) and a red object ball are used. Each player or team uses a different cue ball. It is played on a billiards table with the same dimensions as one used for snooker and points are scored for cannons and pocketing the balls.  

Snooker   is a cue sport that was first played by British Army officers stationed in India in the second half of the 19th century. It is played on a rectangular table covered with a green cloth called baize, with six pockets, one at each corner and one in the middle of each long side. The game is played with twenty-two balls, comprising a cue ball, fifteen red balls, and six other balls—a yellow, green, brown, blue, pink, and black—collectively called the colours. Using a cue stick, the individual players or teams take turns to strike the white cue ball to pot other balls in a predefined sequence, accumulating points for each successful pot and for each time the opposing player or team commits a foul. An individual frame of snooker is won by the player who has scored the most points. A snooker match ends when a player reaches a predetermined number of frames.

The World Snooker Championship is professional snooker's longest-running, most prestigious, and wealthiest tournament, with total prize money in 2021 of £2,395,000, including £500,000 for the winner. First held in 1927, it is now one of the three tournaments – the  reigning world champion is Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Joe Davis dominated the tournament over its first two decades, winning the first 15 world championships before he retired undefeated after his final victory in 1946. The distinctive World Championship trophy, topped by a Greek shepherdess figurine, was purchased by Davis in 1926 for £19 and continues in use to this day. The 2022 World Snooker Championship  took place from 16 April to 2 May 2022 at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England, the 46th consecutive year the World Snooker Championship was held at the venue.  Qualifying rounds for the tournament took place between 4 and 13 April 2022 at the English Institute of Sport, featuring 128 participants, consisting of a mix of professional and invited amateur players.  

Ronnie O'Sullivan equalled Steve Davis's record of 30 Crucible appearances. He reached a record 20th quarter-final and a record 13th semi-final before defeating Judd Trump 18–13 in the final to equal Stephen Hendry's record of seven world titles. It was O'Sullivan's 39th ranking title and 21st Triple Crown title. Aged 46 years and 148 days, he became the oldest world champion in the sport's history, surpassing Ray Reardon, who was aged 45 years and 203 days when he won his last world title in 1978. O'Sullivan also broke Hendry's record of 70 wins at the Crucible, setting a new record of 74.

As Geet Sethi dominated Billiards, it was Pankaj Advani in Snooker, who played Billiards too.   Advani is a 23-time International Billiards and Snooker Federation (IBSF) world champion. He has won 16 billiards world titles, the IBSF World Billiards Championship on 15 occasions and the World Team Billiards Championship once. In snooker, he won the IBSF World Snooker Championship three times, IBSF World six-red championship twice and the IBSF World Team Cup and IBSF World Team Championship one time each.  In recognition of his achievements, the Government of India has bestowed several awards upon Advani: the Arjuna Award in 2004, Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna in 2006, Padma Shri in 2009 and Padma Bhushan in 2018.


With regards – S. Sampathkumar
6th May 2022.


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