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 night time after successful his report seventh Masters title.
There shall be one thing extra substantial on right here later at present concerning the Rocket’s achievement, however I might similar 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 introduced 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 completed their grieving primarily in non-public away from the general public gaze, and solely those that have suffered the identical horrible loss may presumably think about what it should be prefer to lose a valuable youngster in such circumstances.
World Snooker, the BBC, Eurosport and the written media did every thing they may to pay the right respect with the correct tone to Paul, not just for his achievements within the match 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 points of the night that have 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 get together earlier than heading dwelling. He had proven such dignity all night time, and admitted that the night had been troublesome at occasions for each of them.
All you may actually say was that hopefully he had discovered the night a becoming tribute for his in style son, and say as soon as once more how a lot he was missed by the snooker group in addition to his household and mates.
You’ll be able to solely communicate greatest 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 huge braveness from the Hunter household collaborating within the proceedings final night time, I’m positive handing over the trophy to a participant that had a variety of time for Paul and was at his funeral meant one thing, and if O’Sullivan took the match honours then for me Paul’s mother and father weren’t far behind.