New Delhi: Legendary cueist and England team manager Derek Hill has been appointed India’s professional snooker coach by the Sports Authority of India ahead of the Asian Games in China this year.
Hill, currently heading the coaching scheme of World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA), was handed the job on the recommendation of the Billiards and Snooker Federation of India.
“Hill will be in India for a period of one month. We have appointed him to impart specialised training to our Indian Snooker players participating in the Asian Games and to end country’s medal drought in the individual event,” Ravi Tandon, vice-president, BSFI told a news agency.
“He will be fine-tuning the skills of our players. It’s a great honour to have him with us. He will be arriving in India in the first week of October for the conditioning camp of the selected players for the Asian Games.
“Although Derek had increased his remuneration from USD 150 to USD 200 per day but SAI agreed to that after due consultation with the federation,” said Tandon.
Having more than two decades of experience, Hill has coached several national teams like Thailand, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, Russia, Ireland and England.
He has also coached world snooker champions such as Englishmen Ronnie O’Sullivan, nicknamed “The Rocket” due to his rapid playing style, Peter Ebdon, Stephen Hendry and Scotland’s Graeme Dott.
“Hill is an ‘A’ certified world professional Snooker coach and his experience will enrich the players and boost their confidence. India will double its medal tally in Snooker this time. India has never won any individual gold in the Asian Games. Yasin Merchant and Rafat Habib had won gold medal in the Team event in 2002 Busan Games,” said Tandon.
Earlier this month, BSFI had appointed Filipno Jorge C Dacer as the professional coach for the Pool discipline for a period of one year.
The former German Open 9-Ball champion, Dacer will be in India for four weeks before going back to home, return in October to assess the progress and would remain with the Indian contingent till the Asian Games, to be held in Guangzhou in November.