Friday, June 21, 2024


Prompted by a tactful query from the ever-professional Hazel Irvine, Ronnie O’Sullivan paid a heartfelt and beneficiant tribute to Paul Hunter on Sunday evening after profitable his document seventh Masters title.

There will probably be one thing extra substantial on right here later as we speak in regards to the Rocket’s achievement, however I’d identical to to dwell for a second on the Leeds man who died simply over 10 years in the past now on the tragically younger age of simply 27 – and his courageous dad and mom Alan and Krystina.

The re-naming of the trophy in Paul’s honour was a becoming and overdue gesture from World Snooker, and credit score to chairman Barry Hearn and others concerned for realising it.

The primary time the trophy was offered after final April’s resolution was all the time going to be an emotional event, and extra so as soon as it was determined that Paul’s father Alan would current it.

His dad and mom are two people who have accomplished their grieving primarily in personal away from the general public gaze, and solely those that have suffered the identical horrible loss might probably think about what it should be wish to lose a valuable little one in such circumstances.

World Snooker, the BBC, Eurosport and the written media did all the pieces they may to pay the right respect with the suitable tone to Paul, not just for his achievements within the event with three thrilling wins, however as a person.

However irrespective of how a lot care was taken, and irrespective of how a lot these efforts had been appreciated by Paul’s household, there will need to have been elements of the night that had been one thing of an ordeal for them with reminiscences of their beloved son flooding again.

I had a really transient phrase with Alan within the after-final occasion earlier than heading residence. He had proven such dignity all evening, and admitted that the night had been tough at occasions for each of them.

All you can actually say was that hopefully he had discovered the night a becoming tribute for his widespread son, and say as soon as once more how a lot he was missed by the snooker neighborhood in addition to his household and associates.

You possibly can solely communicate greatest from your personal experiences and I feel each colleague would agree that Hunter was a pleasure to interview, and introduced a box-office glamour to the sport unmatched by any participant apart from O’Sullivan in recent times.

It confirmed huge braveness from the Hunter household collaborating within the proceedings final evening, I’m certain handing over the trophy to a participant that had loads of time for Paul and was at his funeral meant one thing, and if O’Sullivan took the event honours then for me Paul’s dad and mom weren’t far behind.




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