Mumbai: Eight-time world champion Pankaj Advani and Aditya Mehta will spearhead the Indian challenge in the RKG-Khar Gymkhana Snooker Masters 2013, India's biggest Pro-Am Snooker tournament, from May 12 to 18 here.
The prize money is the biggest offered in India with the winner's purse being Rs 500,000 lakh. World No.21 Stephen Lee from England will be the star attraction while also in the fray are World No.31 Michael Holt and No.46 Nigel Bond, a former British Open winner and losing finalist to Stephen Hendry in the 1995 world championships, the organisers announced here today.
Other top contenders at the week-long event, to be held at Gymkhana premises, are Mohammed Joker of UAE, national champion Manan Chandra and two-time Asian champion Yasin Merchant, who is also a member of the Organising Committee.
"This is definitely the biggest prize money event in snooker in the country in which I am taking part as an Organising Committee member. There are some top professionals from England but they will face good competition from the Indian players," said Merchant.
Earlier this month, Mumbai-based Mehta piled up the highest possible break of 147, only the second Indian after Geet Sethi to do so, at the Asian Indoor Games selection trials in Bangalore.
Mehta said the 147-break was a "dream come true" for him and it was a great opportunity for all the Indians in the fray to show their mettle in their own backyard against the top professionals from the UK. The runner-up prize is worth Rs 2.5 lakh and the organisers today announced a special prize of Rs 1.47 lakh for any player making a break of 147.
There will be a 24-man draw, including eight from the qualifying rounds held in four other cities earlier, Merchant said. The players would be divided into four groups of six each to spot the eight quarter finalists. "The final would be played over 19 frames in two sessions," he added.