GLOBETROTTING Del Hill is back from India with the praise of that country’s media and snooker elite still ringing in his ears.
The Friskney supercoach was invited by the Billiards and Snooker Federation of India to spend 15 days fine tuning the Indian players to hit peak form for the recent Asian Games in China and also pass on advice and hints to their coaches.
Flying into Delhi, he was greeted by government officials, and then had another three-hour flight to Bangalore, where Del says he was overwhelmed by the welcome he recieved at the training camp set up by the Karnataka State Billiards Association – where he was greatly impressed by the facilities.
“The facilities are unbelievable, second to none in the world. Nowhere else can you stay and play at the same place – and there’s a club and a swimming pool thrown in for good measure”, he said.
He added: “It’s been a most rewarding experience and I look forward to making a return visit. The players have all showed great commitment and professionalism and they have the potential to do very well at the Games.”
It was celebrity VIP treatment everywhere Del went and the media were fulsome in their praise for the man they call ‘A Revelation’.
The Sportstar Weekly magazine had a three-page feature on the trial and tribulations of Wayne Rooney; features on Michael Essien and Christiano Ronaldo; a preview of the Ashes series, a golf feature on Tiger Woods and Lee Westwood – and a two-page interview with Del!
They write: “The soft spoken Hill, with his amiable ways is already a hit with the Indian players who are impressed with the Englishman’s astute observations and valuable imputs.”
In the New Indian Express, which describes Del as ‘the world’s most sought-after coach’. chief national coach Manoj Kothari was full of praise for the work Del had done with the country’s coaches.
“He was some sort of mystical figure for us until now. Being with him was a dream and I have learned so much from him – and everyone here says the same thing.”
Speaking in the Bangalore Daily News, top professional player Yasin Merchant, a past gold medallist from the 2002 Asian Games and preparing for his fourth Asiad, said: ”This was the best training camp ever. Hill has been a revelation for us and has worked magic in such a short time.”
The Times of India, in a lengthy interview, described Del as being one of the finest snooker brains in the world and said he had worked wonders with the Indian squad – while the New Indian Express called Del the snooker star-maker.
At the end of the training camp Del and the players were given a ceremonial send-off.
He received the Mysore ‘petha’, the traditional turban once worn by the erstwhile Kings of Mysore, and the Mysore shawl – not unlike those received by our medal winning sportsmen at the recent Commonwealth Games.
Before India, Del had a month in Bangkok coaching, for a record fourth time, the Thai national squad who were also competing in the Asian Games.