Amateur Brijesh Damani gave an early fright to professional Sam Baird of England by winning the opening frame of their wild card qualifying round before the Kolkata cueist’s challenge fizzled out in the Indian Open World Ranking Snooker championship today.
Damani pocketed the first frame 71-4 with small breaks against his 26-year-old opponent, ranked 72 in the world, and led 25-1 against a misfiring opponent who, then, tightened up his game to run out a 4-1 victor and enter the main draw of 64 players in the 300,000 pound sterling prize money tournament.
Baird, a semi finalist at this season’s Gdynia Open won won 4-71, 57-26, 67-27, 129-1, 68-31, will meet 43-year-old compatriot Rod Lawler ranked 35th, in round 2.
After struggling to come to grips with the conditions, the Englishman brought off two half century breaks 69 and 50 in the fourth frame which effectively snuffed out the Indian’s fight.
Another Indian wild card recipient, former India no. 3 Neeraj Kumar, also missed qualifying for the main draw when he was blanked 4-0 by Thailand’s reigning IBSF champion Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.
Un-Nooh trounced the 32-year-old Patna-born Indian, whose best sequence was 23 in the third frame after which his 61st-ranked opponent struck a century break to take the frame for a commanding 3-0 lead.
South Eastern Railway’s Kumar, who later said that he just could not adjust his play to the Star table double-shaven cloth which needed a light cue touch, lost the match in just 44 minutes the frame scores reading 92-9, 101-15, 101-23, 77-8 in the Thai’s favour.
The winner had a half century run of 64 in the second frame which got him into a nice groove for his subsequent 101 break in the third.
“I had been given two half hour practice sessions before the match and I just could not get used to these tables. We are used to play with hard touch but the difference between these tables and ours is huge,” said Kumar.
edallist Mohammad Ali Qamar has been named the Convener of the panel, with Manoj Pingale and former World Cup bronze-medallist V Devarajan named the Joint Secretaries.
Dingko said the goal of the panel will be to pick a bunch that can deliver medals at the Olympics.
“We have to ensure that Olympic medals keep coming and the selection committee will play a huge role in ensuring that the right guys are there in the squad,” he said.
Boxing India vice-Presidents Kishen Narsi and Jaipal Singh are among the invited members of the committee.