HIGH interest in the National Diwali Cup Snooker Championship has forced the organisers to shift the tournament from Nadi to Lautoka.
A total of 46 players have registered for the two-day event which will start this Saturday.
Tournament co-ordinator Vineel Nand said the matches were initially scheduled to be played at the Nadi Sports Club.
He said because of the large number of confirmed entries, they had no option but to shift the tournament to Lautoka.
Nand said there were two tables at the Nadi Sports Club compared to the four tables at the Lautoka Club.
"The whole idea is to have an even flow of matches so there is no backlog," Nand said.
"Some of the top snooker players have shown their interest. We will have players participating from Tavua Clu, Ba Central Club, Lautoka Club, South Seas Club, Nadi Sports Club, Sigatoka Club, Merchants Club, Defence Club and Nausori Club. A total of 12 players from the Southern Division have registered, which is certainly a positive sign."
North West champion Mahen Deo is the top seed for the tournament.
Southern Division golden cue winner and Fiji Bitter third National Rankings Championship runner-up Praneel Singh will lead the southern charge.
Veteran Rocky Ali of Sigatoka will be making a comeback in the tournament.
The other top contenders include Nitesh Chand, Rimal Narayan, Yogen Prasad, Tony Cen and Mosese Nawaqakuta.
Nand said an 11-year-old boy would be participating in the tournament.
"Subir Chand aged 11 years will be the youngest player in the tournament," Nand said.
"His elder brother Sumir aged 12 years will also be playing. This year we have a record number of entries."
The winner will walk away with $200 and the Diwali Cup. The runner-up will receive $100 while the losing semi-finalists will get $50 each.
The highest break over 51 points will receive $2 per point.
The tournament has been sponsored by Yaloyalo Production.