Snooker does not merit an Olympic spot, says O’Sullivan

Five-time world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan says snooker does not merit a place at the Olympics as it attempts to win inclusion for Tokyo 2020. The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association put snooker forward for the Olympic programme in January. “A World Championship, UK Championship or Masters title would always come before Olympic gold,” O'Sullivan said. The 39-year-old added: “Does it mean that much to a snooker player? We all want to be world champion.” World number six Judd Trump claimed in January that he would prefer to win an Olympic title rather than go one better than his 2011 World Championship final loss to John Higgins. But O'Sullivan believes the Olympics should be the clear pinnacle of a sport if it is to deserve its place on the programme. “Any athlete who goes to the Olympics - that is their goal, that is what they train for for four years,” he added. “From one Olympics to the next, that is all they are thinking about. “I'm not sure a snooker player would have that mindset.” O'Sullivan, who criticised the prize money and sponsorship available to top players in the run-up to the World Championship, begins his bid to win his sixth title at the Crucible against 32-year-old debutant Craig Steadman on Tuesday. The Englishman, who has suffered from depression and missed most of the 2012-13 season to deal with personal issues, says he is trying not to think beyond his next match. “I catch myself thinking that I am here for two weeks, but then I remember I am only here for two weeks if I make it to the final,” he added. “If I get knocked out in the opening round then it has only been two days. “Hopefully I am here competing at the final stages, if not I will enjoy watching it as well. “There are a lot of good players playing well here who feel good about their game and I think that this year is going to be tough for whoever gets their hands on the trophy.”