MUMBAI: World number 50 Aditya Mehta, runner-up in 2013, will lead the home country's challenge in the 300,000 pound sterling 2nd Indian Open World Ranking Snooker Championships here from March 10-14.
Mehta, who lost to China's Ding Junhui in the inaugural edition held in Delhi, is the lone Indian to directly qualify for the championship by winning his qualifying round match in England last month, while six others can come through the pre-tournament wild card qualifying round, it was announced here at a media conference today.
The other Indians in the running for the tournament -- which carries a top prize of pound sterling 50,000 and to be held at a suburban hotel -- are multiple world IBSF champion Pankaj Advani, Neeraj Kumar, Brijesh Damani, Dharmdendra Lilly, Sumiot Talwar and Faisal Khan.
The six players would be pitted against players from England, Scotland, China and Thailand and the winners will earn berths in the 64-player main draw.
The main draw has attracted the likes of Junhui -- the current world number 4, four time world champion and world number 12 John Higgins of Scotland, two-time world champion and world number 15 Mark Williams of Wales, Ken Doherty from Ireland, and Englishmen Judd Trump -- world number 6 -- and Peter Ebdon, among others.
"I hope this event is even more successful than the first edition that was held in Delhi in October, 2013. Next year we are taking it to Chennai and we have plans to take it around the country. Ding Junhui will defend his title," said P V K Mohan, the president of the Billiards and Snooker Federation of India which is organising the championship.
Mike Ganley, from England, is the tournament director and will be assisted by 14 official referees, 10 of those from the home country.
The tournament is to be played on a knock-out basis and all matches till the semifinals are to be best-of-seven frames. The final would be played over nine frames.