The Star says: Snooker’s heart is in our special city

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For two glorious weeks, as April turns into May, Sheffield is at the centre of the sporting world.

The World Snooker Championships at the Crucible Theatre is as synonymous with the city as another venue where celebrations have been taking place - the Leadmill.

Yes, the tournament itself is the pinnacle of its sport, which adds prestige, glamour and kudos.

In theory the tables could be set up in any old auditorium and a winner would still be crowned late in the evening on a May Day sometime in the future.

But the reality is different.

The Championships are more special for being in Sheffield – more specifically for being at the Crucible – and Sheffield is made more special by hosting them.

A pie can still be a good pie, but add some Hendo’s and it is better, isn’t it?

This year’s event was as fantastic as ever.

In an epic final, that once again saw the nation gripped throughout, world champion Stuart Bingham was a worthy winner over the sporting Shaun Murphy.

The BBC are masters at presenting the Championships and it is obvious that the presenters, from the excellent Hazel Irvine through to the expert former players, all hold Sheffield close to their hearts.

And, apart from this profile, we do more than okay out of being the perfect hosts.

The event already generates more than £5 million – but city leaders hope growing interest around the world will help Sheffield reap an even bigger economic benefit.

The profile in the UK, Europe and China has surpassed expectations with an audience of over 350 million.

But, of course, if you make a success of something then others will want to take it away.

It is no secret that China would love to host the Championships one day.

Such is their interest in the sport that it has helped open trade links with Sheffield. Attracting new investment into the city is vital for jobs.

Our universities benefit too with an influx of foreign students, which is a big market for the city’s economy.

As we bask in the success of the 2015 edition it is heartening to hear city leaders making the right noises. We must capitalise on what we have achieved so far and make the most of future championships.

Long may snooker find its home here in Sheffield.