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Monday, April 22, 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 successful his report seventh Masters title.

There shall be one thing extra substantial on right here later in the present day concerning 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 mother and father 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 determination 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 mother and father are two folks that have performed their grieving primarily in personal away from the general public gaze, and solely those that have suffered the identical horrible loss may probably think about what it should be prefer to lose a valuable baby in such circumstances.

World Snooker, the BBC, Eurosport and the written media did every little thing they might to pay the right respect with the precise tone to Paul, not just for his achievements within the event with three thrilling wins, however as a person.

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

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

All you might 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 pals.

You possibly can solely communicate finest from your individual 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 aside from O’Sullivan in recent times.

It confirmed monumental braveness from the Hunter household collaborating within the proceedings final evening, I’m positive handing over the trophy to a participant that had lots 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 mother and father weren’t far behind.


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