Kothari, Damani to battle it out in National 6-Red Snooker

Kolkata, Dec 28 (IANS) Ace cueists, including the likes of Sourav Kothari and Brijesh Damani — currently ranked India No.1 and 2, respectively, will be vying for top honours along with Arjuna awardee Aditya Mehta and defending champion Varun Madan at the fifth National 6-Red Snooker Championship here.

The event will be held from December 29 to January 6 at the Bengal Rowing Club here and is being organised by the West Bengal Billiards Association (WBBA).

In the absence of any Asian selection tournament by the Billiards and Snooker Federation of India (BSFI) this year, the nationals would be the sole qualifier for the 2016 Asian 6-Red Championship.

The top-two players will join Pankaj Advani, a direct entry by virtue of being the current World 6-Red Champion, to represent India at the Asian event to be played in Abu Dhabi in April.

“6-Red Snooker is like cricket’s T20 — fast-paced and exciting. It is becoming more and more popular across the world. We have received more than 170 entries from across the country. All the top-ranked players of India will be seen in action here,” WBBA president Pradip Saraogi said.

The championship will see the participation of players from all states as well as from the Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) and the Railways Sports Promotion Board (RSPB).

For the first time, double-elimination brackets will be used in place of knockouts. This will save a player from sudden death and an opportunity to come up from the loser’s bracket in the event of losing his or her first match.

In the men’s group, 144 players divided into 12 groups will play double elimination. From each group, the last four will join last year’s top-16 to make a total field of 64 for round robin.

For the women, 19 players, divided into two groups, will play double elimination. From each group, the last four will play knockouts, quarterfinal onwards.

The women’s segment will have World No.3 and defending champion Vidya Pillai battling it out against the likes of Amee Kamani, Meenal Thakur, Arantxa Sanchis and a few others.

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