Dubai: The organisers of the inaugural Dubai Airports 9-Ball Billiards Championships are hoping to discover some fresh talent to lend depth to the national squad. The first edition of the championships was announced by Majid Sultan Al Joker, vice-president, Terminal Operations, Dubai Airports, at Terminal 3 yesterday.
“For us, this is a strategic part of our involvement in sport. Billiards is a popular sport in the UAE, more so during the summer. And we hope we can discover some fresh talent that can comprise the UAE national squad in the near future,” Al Joker told Gulf News.
The inaugural edition of the Dubai Airports 9-Ball Billiards Championships will take off on June 29 at the Knight Shot billiards hall in Karama. The semi-finals and the final, however, will be played at a specially set up facility at Terminal 3 at Dubai Airport on July 6 and 7.
“Dubai Airports are involved in several activities during the course of the year. But we wanted this billiards competition to be a special one as it is meant to bring employees from all departments including the RTA, Dubai Police, Dubai Customs and all of our other partners together in a spirit of healthy competition,” Al Joker said.
Entries will be open online (www.pro9.ae) on a first come first served basis for 128 players. The players will be divided into 16 groups of eight each, with the best four from each group advancing to the knock-out stages of the competition.
“Our aim is to get our employees and partners engaged with each other through sport. And having the semi-finals and final at the airport will be a huge boost for the sport and for the UAE as it prepares to host Expo 2020,” said Mishari Al Bannai, the tournament director.
The occasion saw Omran Salem, the Arab Billiards Champion in 2007, displaying some of his skills on the baize.
The competition is being held under the patronage of Shaikh Saeed Bin Ahmad Al Maktoum, president of Dubai Civil Aviation and chairman and chief executive of Emirates airline and Group, and also chairman, Dubai Airports, with the support of the UAE Billiards and Snooker Association.