Muscat: The second Oman Snooker Open got underway on Friday at the Billiardino Club in Al Amerat with over 54 players in the fray.
Apart from the bulk of the Omani players participating, there will be representation from Pakistan, Bahrain, UAE, Iraq and Qatar.
Oman’s challenge will be led by the likes of Omar al Busaidy and Yusuf al Fawri while Bahrain’s No 1 player Habeeb Sabah will be the man to watch out for among the visitors.
“I hope the tournament will encourage Omani players to become better and hone their skills. In the last edition, one of our players reached the quarterfinals. This time I hope at least one of our Omani players reach the semifinals. We have players like Omar, Yusuf and the brothers Taha and Ahmed and we hope for a good performance from them,’’ Khalid al Subhi, Chairman, Oman Billiards and Snooker Association, said.
Khalid also has future plans of hosting a GCC-level tournament in Oman for the first time.
“I would like to host a GCC-level tournament in a couple of years, so let’s see,’’ he added.
The tournament has also brought cheer to the owner of the Billiardino Club, Haneef al Balushi.
“I am very happy to organise the tournament here. The last edition was held in Seeb and now I am glad to have it here at my club. I am sure we will have a very good tournament with more than 54 players participating. The competition will be tough and we have a few good Omani players in the mix as well,’’ he added.
“We are getting good support from the Sports Ministry as well as the Billiards and Snooker Association,’’ Haneef stated.
Ex-Omani player reminisces
One of the top former Omani players Said al Siyabi, who was an active snooker player for 25 years, got nostalgic looking back at his career.
“I started my career way back in 1994. I had a good time and took part in many competitions and even won a tournament, the Oman Billiards and Snooker Championship title in 2001.
“I also took part in an international tournament in the UAE. The Emiratis dominated the scene for a long time.
“Now, there are some very good players like Omar and Yusuf. We have potential in Oman, definitely,’’ Said added.
“Omar al Busaidy is No 3 in the Gulf, so that is an indication that we are on the right track,’’ the former player said.
Talking about the development of the sport, Said looked back at the heydays of his playing career.
“There used to so many competitions and so many clubs when I was an active professional. We used to meet up at various clubs every Tuesday and play. So that is how it used to be back then,’’ Said concluded.