Defending champion Manan Chandra couldn't have asked for an easier start to the 2nd BLP Eight-ball National Pool Championship on Monday.
The opening day of the Rs 3.5 lakh tournament saw Chandra strike the ball with precision as his opponent, Vikas Prajapat, was reduced to a mere spectator. Chandra, a professional snooker player, brought his expertise to the pool table and sealed a decisive 5-1 game. "I was playing my natural game and chose not to experiment much. Experience is helpful and the stage, perhaps, was too grand for Vikas to reach his potential," said the 28-year-old who represents Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) team. Chandra is now keen on the next round and expects a good fight. "There are many talented players in the tournament. Delhi and Punjab have repeatedly produced skilled players," he said.
The championship this year has seen a rise in entries. The three-day tournament has 128 participants as against 90 in the previous edition held in 2002 at Kolkata. "We are happy with the response…36 women players have also registered for the event. It is a positive development for the sport," said Billiards and Snooker Federation of India (BSFI) vice-president Ravi Tandon.