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Unique feat by Saurav Kothari

Calcutta: It was a red-letter day in young Saurav Kothari’s life. His triumph in the BRC state snooker championship signalled an unprecedented ‘quadruple’ in the history of the cue sport in this state.

No one, not even his illustrious father Manoj, had ever bagged the state billiards and snooker crowns in both the junior and senior sections. He even had the distinction of recording the highest breaks in all four events and mastered his dad in the senior billiards final a week ago.

Kothari didn’t have an easy ride in the snooker final on Tuesday evening. He started cautiously and soon found Brijesh Damani opening up a two frames to nil lead.

Mustering all his concentration, Kothari regained his touch to take the next three frames. In the crucial sixth frame, he notched up a big break of 56 to clear the table.

Damani pulled one back with a break of 39 to make the score 3-4, but Kothari was not to be denied. He clinched the eighth frame to etch his name into the record books.

“It’s obviously a great feeling to have created this record, that too with the highest breaks,” said Kothari, who turns 19 next week. But this, he feels, is just a stepping stone.

“I need more experience and exposure to graduate to the next level. My aim next year would be to finish in the top three of the senior nationals (scheduled in Gwalior in mid-January) so that I could qualify for the amateur world championship,” he observed.

Before that, Kothari has a training stint at the Wellenbrough academy, near London — thanks to the Rs 5 lakh grant sanctioned by the Central government — next month and he is really looking forward to it.

“You know Pankaj (Advani) won the world (amateur) title just after training there. Hopefully, it will work for me likewise too,” Kothari remarked.

He will train under professional coach Chris Henry and, more importantly, get a chance to practise with top pros. “The likes of Peter Ebdon and Jun Huiding train there, so it should be a rewarding experience.”

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