Mon, 22 Mar 1999

'TVRI' to air master's billiard tournament

JAKARTA (JP): State television network TVRI will begin a monthly master's billiard contest on April 4 in a move intended to popularize the sport, the Indonesian Billiard Association (POBSI) announced on Saturday.

Association chairman Putra Astaman said the first game, featuring Robby Suarly and Alwi, was expected to educate the public about billiards as a sport apart from its entertainment value.

"Billiards is known by many people only as entertainment," said the retired police officer. "Through TVRI, we hope that billiards could become (considered) a sport and attract talented billiard players."

Robby is 46 and Alwi 41 on the world rankings.

The winner of the game will receive a cash prize of Rp 1 million.

Putra said TVRI and POBSI agreed to stage the monthly billiard match until 2000. Every billiard master will have the opportunity to compete against each other.

The Robby-Alwi match will air from 9:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. They will play a nine-ball format which must be competed within one hour.

"There is always a possibility that Robby or Alwi could lose against talented masters. We expect to create high caliber billiard players like Robby and Alwi," Putra said.

Meanwhile, Max Sopachua of the state TV network said TVRI would also feature five-minute to 10-minute instructional tips on playing the sport, comments from billiard experts and highlights of each game.

"We want to help POBSI popularize billiards in the community. Through TVRI, people will know more about billiards," Max said.

Max said it would be a first for TVRI to air live billiard matches. He said a hindrance in the past was the traditional venue of the sport.

"Of course we do not want to air billiard matches at the billiard centers as this could create a bad image for viewers who want to see professional players," Max said.

TVRI has set up a site at its complex which can accommodate 1,000 spectators. People interested in watching the match should contact the station's Senayan office.

Robby and Alwi refused to make predictions on who would emerge the winner.

Robby told The Jakarta Post that he first played Alwi in 1985 and he was a talented player.

"I don't want to say who will win the match, but I must admit that Alwi is difficult to beat," Robby said. (lnt)