Constituent policy

Snooker stars ‘not bothered by Covid politics’

Some of the world’s top snooker players who are in the SAR for the Hong Kong Masters tournament said on Wednesday they were generally in favor of the Covid-19 arrangements put in place.

The first international snooker tournament held in Asia since the pandemic will kick off at the Hong Kong Coliseum on Thursday.

Instead of a “closed-loop” system proposed earlier, players must now adhere to the “zero plus three” policy and receive an orange health code, preventing them from dining out.

The world’s highest-ranked player, Ronnie O’Sullivan of England, said he had no problem with the restrictions.

“I don’t really mind, you know, because I knew we could go practice in the gym, and that’s fine with me. Sometimes it’s easier, because we don’t have to messing around with people, crowds, you know it’s just a quieter life For me, sometimes, I like restrictions.

“Now he’s opened up a bit, you can kind of mingle with people, this and that, and sometimes it can be a distraction. And really, when you play sports, you just want to be alone, calm, relaxed, playing a game.”

The world number one will face local star Ng On-yee in the quarter-finals on Friday night.

Another home favourite, Marco Fu, said he spent nearly an hour on Wednesday showing other players how to use the LeaveHomeSafe app.

Fu will face England’s Mark Selby in the quarter-final opener on Thursday.

Hong Kong Masters organizers say the “zero plus three” arrangement offers greater flexibility and freedom.

Hong Kong Billiards Sports Control Board chairman Vincent Law also said they were hoping for a record turnout.

“We are looking to set a new record in the history of snooker because on the last day we have already sold over 90% of the tickets, so we expect to see 8,000 to 9,000 people at the Hong Kong Coliseum, which will be the biggest crowd for a snooker tournament.”

The final is set for Sunday evening.

Selby, for his part, said he hopes to return to mainland China soon to play snooker tournaments there.