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Calm Kothari is focused

Sourav Kothari

Calcutta: Sourav Kothari is not the one to go overboard. Despite winning his maiden national billiards title — the first from Bengal to win it — in Lucknow on Wednesday, he is calm.

He is, in fact, concentrating on his task at hand — the National Snooker Championship that starts in Lucknow from Saturday. Sourav will play his first match against Siddharth Sen of Odisha on Sunday.

“This is one of the biggest wins of my career. I’m really happy with my effort. But I’m not overwhelmed… I want to remain grounded and prepare for the battles ahead… I am preparing really hard for the National Snooker Championships… I might have come back to the city today (Thursday) but I have started practising… Tomorrow, hopefully, I will be putting in more hours,” said Sourav.

Sourav defeated defending champion Alok Kumar 5-3 (17-152, 150-71, 104-151, 151-56, 150-58, 147-151, 151-81, 151-61) in a pulsating final on Wednesday. Alok started the match well and won the first frame. But Sourav came back strongly in the second frame.

The two went neck to neck in the next two frames before Sourav took the lead in the fifth game. A crucial miss cost Sourav the sixth game, but he held his nerves to win the seventh and eighth frames.

Speaking about his performance, he said: “My approach towards my game has changed. Earlier, I used to take unnecessary pressure. But I have calmed down a lot. Now, I am enjoying the game and my focus is to put up a good performance. I was facing the much-experienced Alok and it was important to hold my nerves. I’m glad that I could do that.”

Sourav dedicated the title to his father Manoj. “My father’s contribution to my game is massive. He has taught everything to me. I dedicate the win to him.

“My father had won the world billiards title but not the nationals … So that was something which was missing from his cupboard. I’m happy that I could win it for him. He is really pleased with my performance.”