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 report seventh Masters title.

There will likely be one thing extra substantial on right here later at the moment in regards to 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 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 determination was at all times 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 performed 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 have to be prefer to lose a valuable baby in such circumstances.

World Snooker, the BBC, Eurosport and the written media did every thing they might to pay the proper 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 had been appreciated by Paul’s household, there should have been features 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 temporary phrase with Alan within the after-final social gathering 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 could possibly actually say was that hopefully he had discovered the night a becoming tribute for his fashionable son, and say as soon as once more how a lot he was missed by the snooker group in addition to his household and associates.

You possibly can solely converse greatest from your personal experiences and I believe 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 lately.

It confirmed huge braveness from the Hunter household participating within the proceedings final evening, 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 dad and mom weren’t far behind.


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