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28th May 2000
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Peoplising a privileged game

By Jatila Karawita.
"The sky is the limit as far as pool parlours are concerned" says the proprietor of the Precious Pool Parlour M.J. (Chuti) Mansoor,when he spoke to the Sunday Times regarding his new concept of introducing the sport of pool to Sri Lanka.

Mansoor who is a leading businessman in addition to being the Managing Director of The Phone Company was very upbeat about the chances of the sport of pool catching up in the country during the coming months and years when he aired his views at his latest pool complex situated at the popular Millennium Park.

"It was during one of my trips to India last year that I got this idea of opening up a pool parlour in my country because what I saw in cities like Chennai, Bangalore, and Mumbai amazed me to a great extent and drove home the point as to what I could introduce to my customers back home by way of pool", said Mansoor explaining what had prompted him to starting this pool parlour as a way of kick-starting the dying games of snooker and billiards in Sri Lanka.

Mansoor was of the view that snooker and billiards were confined to a privileged lot in this country for a good number of years and with a view to opening out the doors to as many people as possible he had made up his mind to venture into the business of introducing pool parlours to the Sri Lankans.

"I initially began this concept here at the Millennium Park at Precious Pool Parlour last year around May with around five tables.

But I am so delighted and glad to say the demand for pool has been growing by the hour since then to say the least and presently I have around 15 tables at the PPP.

But for this particular project to have got off the ground I have to thank my sponsor Dialog GSM who have in fact given me such a firm financial backing, for if not for their helping hand this particular pool parlour at the Millennium Park would never have seen the light of day," said Mansoor describing his gratitude to the cellular phone company.

Mansoor whose motto at the Precious Pool Parlour is 'Give Us Your Best,We Have The Balls For It', also has numerous other plans up his sleeve to take the concept of Pool Parlour to other parts of the country and says that his ambition is to one day put up the biggest pool parlour ever to be seen in this country in another two years or so.

" I will certainly be taking this game islandwide and I have earmarked Kandy and Galle as two of the leading cities in the outskirts which I think will have a huge impact with people who love to play pool.

I also hope to put up Sri Lanka's largest pool parlour in around 2001 but I would not like to reveal details about it for the time being.

The idea behind the Precious Pool Parlour is not to make money.

What I want to do is to give my customers the satisfaction and pleasure. To give them their money's worth.

And to make them wanted at my Precious Pool Parlour" said M.J. Mansoor who was optimistic that pool is bound to boom in Sri Lanka in the years to come.

Mansoor was also looking forward to the successful completion of the first ever eightball pool tournament held in Sri Lanka and sponsored by Dialog GSM and Yes FM which began at the Precious Pool Parlour last Tuesday and which is scheduled to be completed on May 30.

" In this Dialog GSM eight ball pool tournament it was the first time in over a century of the green baize sport that ladies can be seen cueing in this country and with around 25 women vying for laurels we should see high class competition," stated Chuti Mansoor who added that Naushad Perera, head of Marketing at Dialog GSM has been invited as the chief guest to grace the grand prizegiving on Tuesday.

The men's championship of the eightball pool tournament has already drawn 73 entries and is slated to be conducted according to the rules of the world governing body and on tables which have been approved by them.

He also mentioned that Billiards and Snooker Association of Sri Lanka has already decided to affiliate the game of pool to its itinerary and in time to come they have indicated to the head of Precious Pool Parlour that they will be even sending pool players for international tournaments as well. " Dialog GSM have already intimated to me that they will be sponsoring this eightball pool tournament for the next three years and so would be Pure Beverages Company who have also come forward to tie up with Mansoor to gain publicity for their leading soft drink brand Sprite," said Chuti Mansoor who still harbours hopes of giving his customers nothing but the very best in Pool Parlours. Mansoor who also disclosed that the total expenditure incurred to run the modern Pool Parlour at the Millennium Park was around Rs. 20 Million said his Precious Pool Parlour is open to his customers for a duration of 14 hours per day starting from 11 a.m. to 1.00 a.m. the following day and also on each of the 365 days of the year.

"The demand for pool is escalating by the hour, and I am not exaggerating here. If anyone doubts what I say they are all free to come and see what is taking place at the Precious Pool Parlour here at your favourite Millennium Park. As a business this particular venture has been very successful and I must say that I have taken partners to this business of mine. Having known the sport inside out all I want to do is to give my precious customers the very best in pool. And to that effect I have hitherto left no stone unturned and to all pool lovers as a final message all I want to say is come and take to this sport and you will not regret it because in the long run it is rewarding," summed up M.J.Chuti Mansoor who has not turned back since his introduction of pool to his motherland.

Meanwhile the charges of the Precious Pool Parlour are as follows.

For a 9 foot table Rs. 400/-; for a 8 foot table Rs. 300 /-; For members 30% off.

Russel Gray clarifies... 

"Rifle Shooting under new rules'

With reference to the accusation levelled against me in " Rifle Shooting under new rules?" of the sports feature dated 7th May, 2000 I wish to clarifty the misconceptions stated therein. 

Initially it is relevant to note that the writer, being the spineless individual he is, using the pseudonym Lee N Field, betrays the fact, that he lacks the courage of his own convictions. To set the record straight the range officer for the particular event in question was Petty Officer D.M.P.B. Dassanayake and it was to him that Col. L. Rajasinghe referred to regard the extra shot in his target. Why does he act like a jellyfish and distort facts? Perhaps this is why he has not served on an International Jury and has been, in his own words, confined to scoring in only four International meets. Permit me to remind Lee N Field and the veteran that I have to my credit Seven International meets in which I have worked as a Range Officer, then as an Equipment Controller and served on various International Juries. I have served on the Classification Jury at the Commonwealth Games (Malaysia) and in recognition of that I was appointed as Chairman of the Classification Jury for the Asian Shooting Championships in New Zealand, and The Oceania Continental Championships in Sydney, this being in Nov.' 99 and I have given decisions at these meets which have been accepted by these countries, without any protest. 

The 60 - shot prone Rifle match was held on the first day. Two shooters obtained the identical score of 583/600 and based on the relevant rule on a count back basis L. Rajasinghe of the Army was awarded first place as his last series of ten shots was better than the Navy's Priyaranjana. This pundit in his next pararaph says, On the following day.... a similar incident took place.... 

Look here both you gentlemen and self proclaimed pundits, nobody is interested in what took place twenty four hours later. The rule book, which he is so fond of quoting is very clear in stating that any protest must be submitted not later than 30 minutes after the matter in question occurs....(the emphasis is mine) 

If both Lee N Field's and his memories have failed them let me point out the relevant rule. 

General Technical Rules for All Shooting Disciplines 13.0 Protests and Appeals 

13.1 Verbal protect. 

Any Shooter or Official has the right to protest a condition of the competition, decision or action immediately and verbally to a Competition Official, Referee, Range Official or Jury Member. Such a protest may be submitted on the folowing matters: 

13.1.1 A shooter or team official considers that the UIT/ISSF regulations, rules or competition program was not followed.... 

(Which is exactly what the spineless Lee N Field and pundit accuse me of ). 

13.1.2 A Shooter or team official does not agree with a decision, or action by a Competition Official, Range Officer or Jury Member. Rule 13.2 Written Protests. (second sentence) 

Any shooter or team officail has the right to make a written protest without making a verbal protest. All written protests must be submitted not later than 30 minutes after the matter in question occurs. (again emphasis is mine). 

Lets all agree, for argument's sake, with Lee N Field and the maestro that I gave a very wrong decision, either (a) through sheer ignorance or (b) to favour L. Rajasinghe. Pray why then did not the shooter Priyaranjana or the Navy protest the decision as per this rule ?

To argue that they were not aware of this rule would be an insult to all shooters. 

However for arguements sake again lets assume so. Then why was not para. 13 of the ORG. NOTE not referred to ?

An Org. Note contains all relevant information pertaining to the Meet, Dates, Program of Events, Time and Venue, names of Judges and Officials. All this information is contained in 15 paragraphs and circulated to every office bearer in the National Rifle Association , All Affiliated Clubs/Associations, Teams and Team Officials in short all competitors. The relevant paragraph 13 is as follows. Para 13. Protests and Appeals. All protests and appeals will be dealt with as per UIT regulations. All protests if any to be handed over to Chairman Tech. Comm. or Director Competitions with a fee of Rs. 500.00 within 30 minutes from the time of incident. Any protest/appeals submitted later than the time stipulated will not be accepted. 

Again I ask why was no protest made at least on the Para 13 of the Org. Note ?

Or are the two authors of that article Lee N Field and the maestro the two who are trying to conduct "Rifle Shooting under new rules" ?

Back to the question of the protest of J.Dassanayake, where he asks not to be penalised for an extra shot in his target and quotes the case of the previous day. I have in no way argued that the decision is wrong, neither does it give J. Dassanayake the right to an appeal that he too be credited with the higher value shot. Such appeals will follow the process as defined in the rule book. I quite agree with the learned maestro that two wrongs don't make a right, but I do believe that the same decision should be given in both cases which as I have pointed out are indentical, even if my decision was wrong. 

I have not under any circumstances favoured one shooter and penalised the other. Neither can anybody accuse me of awarding L. Rajasinghe the higher value shot without their knowledge as all scoring was done on the range, in the presence of every shooter. 

It is indeed a crying shame that Lee N Field not only does not have the courage of his own convictions that he needs to write under an anonymous name , but also his partiality to quote the Rule Book conveniently excludes Rule 13.2 . One would think that true sportsmanship requires discussion and not pot shots on committee members belonging to one and the same body using the book of rules as the basis for poison penmanship. Surely, veteran shooters should be displaying their knowledge not on paper, but on a range for the betterment of the sport !

This correspondence is now ended. - Sports Editor 


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