Mumbai: The green baize game of snooker, played with multi-coloured balls, has been short-listed among three sports to be included in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, according to Captain P V K Mohan, president of the International Billiards and Snooker Federation (IBSF).
"For the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, snooker is being considered seriously. The Games organisers had approached the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association to send in an application to be included in the programme and it has been done. Snooker and two other sports have been short-listed," said Mohan on Saturday at the media conference for the 2nd Indian Open Snooker, scheduled here from March 10.
"The Japan Olympic Association and WCBS (World Confederation of Billiards Sports) are pursuing it," he added.
The IBSF chief, who is also the president of the Indian cue sports body BSFI, also announced that WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson has agreed to IBSF's request to include an Asian Tour to the pro snooker calendar to help Asian players who find it too expensive to travel and stay in England and take part in the European tour.
There will be eight Chinese players, one Indian and six wild cards.
He also said there would be two domestic leagues in June and September -- one for grassroot players and the other, the elite one having Indian and foreign players.
"It will feature eight teams. We have almost finalised everything," he added.
Mumbai-born, 29-year-old Mehta -- the only Indian to possess a professional snooker tour card -- and the 27-year-old Chinese had qualified for the championship by outclassing English rivals Hammad Miah and Barry Pinches 4-0 and 4-1 respectively in Barnsley Metrodome in England last month.
The other six Indians in the running to make the main draw had won wild cards during the Indian qualifying legs last year.
The tournament was scheduled in October last year but had to be put off due to the Maharashtra assembly elections, Mohan said.
The top three ranked players in the world -- Mark Selby, Neil Robertson and Ronnie O'Sullivan -- will not be seen in action in the tournament.
"Some top players have not qualified and someone like O'Sullivan does not travel outside (Europe), but we have a good field," said Mohan.
Top Indian cueist-cum-administrator Devendra Joshi said, "It cannot get bigger than this."
"This is a splendid platform for all Indian players who cannot afford to stay and play for months in England on the professional circuit. It will be a treat for all to watch," said Joshi.
While the winner will take home pound sterling 50,000, there is prize money on offer for the losing finalist (pound sterling 25,000), the losing semifinalists (pound sterling 13,500) as well as the first round losers (pound sterling 2000).