The sports desk here at Asian Sunday has been proudly following the growing Asian talent in the snooker circuit and in the 2016 United Kingdom Open, we can happily say that there were signs of encouragement in terms of Asian snooker players.

Aditya Mehta (Credit: Bill de Flute)
Aditya Mehta (Credit: Bill de Flute)

Former Indian Open semi-finalist Aditya Mehta and Hammed Miah both made it to the first round. Although sadly neither player could make it any further than this, the very fact that both players made this stage had been a victory in itself.

As wonderful a spectacle as snooker has been over the years, sadly snooker has been missing one key ingredient…  diversity of players. This year though we are delighted to say that world snooker appears to be sitting up and taking notice.

Welsh player Kishan Hirani progressed to the final qualifying round but sadly was beaten 10-7. In other encouraging news for Asian players on the tour, Pakistani player Hamza Akbar defeated more experienced player Jamie Cope. Both Hirani and Akbar have shown that there is indeed reason to enthused about South Asians in snooker.

Let’s not forget it wasn’t so long ago that the thought of players from the Far East was almost unheard of, but just look at the circuit now. Players from the Far East such as Liang Weng Bo, Ding Junghui and Marco Fu to name but a few, are all players who are well and truly involved in the main circuit in itself. It is certainly noticeable to the public if these players aren’t in the main draw, and such has been the high quality of the qualifying rounds that even Ding Jhunghui had to qualify!

Hamza Akbar (Credit: Geo TV Sports)
Hamza Akbar (Credit: Geo TV Sports)

With regards to the rest of the tournament, there has been plenty of shocks. This year’s world snooker championships will see a new world champion as Stuart Bingham has also fallen to the ‘curse’ of the first time champion. Bingham, who dramatically won the world title last May, was beaten 10-9 in the first round by former Crucible finalist Ali Carter.

If that wasn’t enough of a shock, then Neil Robertson, former world number one, was also knocked out in the first round after a 10-6 defeat to England’s Michael White. We here at Asian Sunday will be closely following the next rounds, so be sure to keep reading for your up-to-date analysis of UK snooker.