If you were unsure of what all the kerfuffle was around your local pool hall or pub a couple of nights back, it would have been the gathering of pool, snooker and billiards aficionados eagerly anticipating the announcement of the sport’s inclusion into the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
Alas, for the legion of fans of the green baize, there was to be no celebration of Sydney 2000 proportions, with Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive Mike Hooper announcing that ‘snooker and cue sports’ would not be part of the sports roster in India.
The disappointment among the game’s top players and officials was understandable and justified, for what bigger stage can there be for any sport to showcase its obvious strengths than the Commonwealth Games?
Adding to the disappointment was the fact that archery and tennis, which have not been part of the traditional Commonwealth Games schedule, have been added to the list of sports on show in 2010.
Reigning world champion Graeme Dott summed up the feelings of his colleagues when he denounced the decision, and paid particular attention to the sports that made it through the selection process ahead of snooker.
“It would have been a great idea,” Dott told BBC online. “It’s a bit weird to say archery is better marketed than snooker. I know I’m biased, but if you asked most people to name a snooker player or an archer, they would name you at least three snooker players and no archers.”
Hmm, does that hold up? For the cues, Walter Lindrum, Eddie Charlton and Minnesota Fats are just three names that come easily to mind. Archery? Robin Hood, William Tell, and that bloke who used to be in the Mars Bars commercial.
Unfortunately for the game’s figureheads, contributors to the BBC’s online poll didn’t offer much support for the game’s plight, with many agreeing with the decision.
“I rate it as high as synchronized swimming or needle threading,” said one sports fan. “Very skillful and lots of training needed but so does painting and decorating and everyone knows how thrilling watching paint dry is.”
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Said another: “The physical aspect to snooker is very little. It will always struggle, rightly, to be recognised as a sport because it involves almost no physical exertion – you can compete quite comfortably in waist coats for example!”
But our favourite response was this: “Let’s be honest – the only reason people want it in is to have a reasonable chance of a British medal. Even then some Australian is bound to be better.”