Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Mustafa Shehab will participate on behalf of the UAE in the first major snooker tournament being held in Thailand this week. Also for the first time, all billiard-related sporting bodies will attend the event.
Mustafa Shehab will participate on behalf of the UAE in the first major snooker tournament being held in Thailand this week. Also for the first time, all billiard-related sporting bodies will attend the event.

Short-form fad boosts snooker

With time at a premium, sporting disciplines are repackaging their contents to make them more feasible.

ABU DHABI // Short is sweet. It is also the flavour of the season. With time at a premium, sporting disciplines are reinventing and repackaging their contents to make them more feasible for spectators. With cricket taking off again with the popularity of the Twenty20 format, the cuesport fraternity is preparing for a new game - six-red snooker. Labelled the "T20 of cuesport", the world of snooker is looking towards Bangkok, where the first major tournament will take place beginning tomorrow until Sunday, with prize money of 1.8m baht (Dh200,000) on offer.

Sponsors have lined up to support the tournament - despite the unknown factor of its popularity - and as many as 18 of the world's leading professionals players have confirmed their entry. On the outside, the SangSom six-red tournament doesn't look much different from the original game. The only difference is that the 15 red balls have been reduced to six while the six coloured balls remain. The concept and the first international tournament is the brainchild of Sindhu Pulsirivong, the chairman of the Asian Confederation of Billiards and Snooker and the president of the Snooker Association of Thailand.

"I was watching the eight-ball and nine-ball pool tournaments on television and saw that the popularity of the new formats was increasing. Also the tournaments offered everyone an equal chance to win. So it was necessary to rethink on snooker," said Mr Pulsirivong. The new format was tried out on an inaugural basis at the South East Asian Games in Korat, Thailand, in December last year. Mr Pulsirivong admitted T20 was also an inspiration. Though the Indian Premier League was yet to be conceptualised, Mr Pulsirivong kept himself abreast with the county cricket in England and the Indian Cricket League.

Interestingly, snooker is a version of the more traditional billiards and was supposed to be more entertaining. But quite clearly, the huge response already shows change is the need of the hour. For the first time in the history of the sport, all related sporting bodies including the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association and the International Billiards Snooker Federation and the regional bodies will descend to watch the tournament.

Snooker's most popular player, Jimmy White, will be present as will two former world champions, Peter Ebdon, who lives in Dubai, and the Irishman Ken Doherty as well as world No 4 Mark Selby. Nineteen countries will be represented in the 48-player field. Mustafa Shehab, who, along with Mohammed al Joker, will represent the UAE at the event, said: "The format is very exciting. A frame finishes in less than five minutes. It is easy and gives a chance to everyone.

"At the same time, it is not that easy because you cannot afford to make a mistake. But it is fun." India's Yasin Merchant, the twice Asian snooker champion, added: "This format allows a player to win even with breaks of just 30 to 40." Shehab revealed there are plans to have a tournament for UAE players while Pakistan has announced another international tournament later this month. It will tentatively be a five-nation event from July 24-27.


Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 The Greens, villas: Q1 no change. 3BR - Dh210-250,000. 4BR - Dh210-260,000. 5BR - Dh220-300,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 5% rise. Pawan Singh / The National

In pictures: Where Dubai rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Dubai have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

 The cooling towers of the Temelin nuclear power plant near the Tyn nad Vltavou in Czech Republic. The country wants to continue expanding nuclear energy capacity despite cancelling a tender to build two new units. David W Cerny / Reuters

In pictures: Best business images for the week to April 17, 2014

Here are some of the best business images for the week to April 17, 2014.

 Three generations of the Hakimi family tend to their stall Crawford Market in Mumbai. Subhash Sharma for The National

In pictures: Shopper’s delight at Crawford Market in Mumbai

Crawford Market is an old British-style covered market dealing in just about every kind of fresh food and domestic animal imaginable. Later on renamed Mahatma Jotirao Phule, the market remains popular among locals and visitors by its old name, taken from Arthur Crawford who was the first municipal commissioner of the city.

 The Wind, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition takes place from April 14 to April 16. Above, the Dewa showroom during last year’s Wetex. Jaime Puebla / The National

April corporate and economic calendar for the UAE and overseas

From Cityscape to Wetex to stock-market holidays to nations reporting first-quarter GDP figures, here is our helpful calendar of April's business events in the UAE and internationally.

 Get the latest information on credit cards, bank accounts and loan products in the UAE. Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

Rates report: Latest on UAE loans, accounts and credit cards

Souqamal.com brings you the latest interest rates on banking products in the UAE.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National