As many as 922 players including title holders Pankaj Advani and Sourav Kothari will be seen in action in the BRC Gloster national billiards and snooker championship beginning in Kolkata on Saturday.
The event, running till Jan 24, will see participation from all the states as also the Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) and the Railway Sports Promotion Board (RSPB), West Bengal Billiards Association president Pradip Saraogi told a media meet Friday.
Among others who would vie for honours are Rupesh Shah, Vidya Pillai, Suniti Damani and world championship bronze medal winner Nita Kothari.
Twenty nine-year-old Advani, who holds ten world titles in cue sports besides being the defending snooker champion, would arrive Jan 11.
Local boy Kothari, who won his maiden national billiards championship last year by defeating Alok Kumar in Lucknow, said he was excited at the prospect of defending his crown in his home city.
"I have been born and brought up here. I am very excited. But at the same time I am not under any pressure. If I win, well and good. If I can't, I'll move on," he said.
Advani and Kothari would be turning out in both billiards and snooker in the championship being staged at the Bengal Rowing club (BRC).
The senior billiards contest, to be held Jan 12-17, will have a field of 52 in the main draw, including four qualifiers.
The competitors will be divided into eight groups in the main contest, with two from each qualifying into the knock out stage.
Kothari, representing the PSPB, would be the top seed, immediately followed by his teammate Alok Kumar and Karnataka's B Bhaskar. PSPB's Dhruv Sitwala was ranked four.
The senior snooker category, with a field of 80 including seven qualifiers, is slated to be held Jan 19 to 24. The participants would be slotted in 16 groups, with two players making the cut for the knock outs from each.
While Advani gets pride of place in the seedings, Kamal Chawla (RSPB), Brijesh Damani (PSPB) and Dharminder Lilly are seeded two, three and four respectively.
The ladies billiards final would be held Jan 22 and the female snooker title clash Jan 24.
The other competition categories are sub-junior boys and girls and junior boys and girls.