Kolkata, World Billiards champion Sourav Kothari on Friday put his weight behind the World Confederation of Billiards Sports (WCBS) in their bid to be part of the Paris 2024 Olympic Sports programme, saying the sport is massively popular across the globe and deserves to be part of the quadrennial extravaganza.
The WCBS — which represents snooker, billiards and carom — last month launched its bid to become part of the Paris 2024 Olympic Sports programme at a special ceremony at the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Hosted by the Billiards 2024 Committee and supported by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) and World Snooker, the event represented a significant milestone in billiard sports’ bid for inclusion in the Paris 2024 Games.
Kothari, who defeated Peter Gilchrist of Singapore 1134-944 to clinch the 2018 WBL World Billiards Championship title in Leeds in October, said it’s high time the sport is given Olympics recognition as it is highly popular.
“The World Snooker Association, which is the apex body for world professional Billiards and Snooker field, have officially launched their bid for Paris Olympics. Snooker is massively popular in Europe and in many parts of the world and it should be included in Olympics,” Kothari told reporters before departing for the IBSF World 6 Red Snooker Championship starting on December 18.
Asked if the lack of recognition even after winning the World title upsets him, Kothari said that as long as the sport is not part of the Olympics, it won’t get its due share in India.
“We are performing all the time but out country has an obsession with Olympic sports. Everywhere, whatever platform you go to, they are pushed in front,” said the former national and Asian Billiards champion.
Hailing the BCCI for marketing cricket brilliantly, Kothari said cue sports should take a cue from the way cricket has grown.
“What BCCI has done for cricket is amazing. You cannot blame cricket for anything as if cricket was not there, IPL would not have come. Now franchise based leagues are everywhere. So I think associations need to take cue from BCCI.”
On the World 6-Reds taking place in Egypt, Kothari said its a completely different ball game to billiards and he won’t start as a favourite.
“Billiards and snooker field is different. This World Championship you will have players from China and European nations who are extremely strong snooker playing nations.
“Billiards have a different participation. Here you will see a lot of players from Egypt.
“I am not playing the team event. There are four Indian teams who are playing in the team event, but I am only playing in the individual World 6 Red Snooker Championship,” he signed off.