Chawla, Kamani lift snooker nationals trophies

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Kolkata, Jan 6 (IANS) Top cueists Kamal Chawla and Amee Kamani clinched the men’s and women’s titles respectively at the National 6-Red Snooker Championship here on Wednesday.

While Kamal Chawla got the better of Manan Chandra in a pulsating battle that went down to the wire and lasted more than three hours, Amee Kamani prevailed over the experienced Vidya Pillai 4-1 to take the crown at the Bengal Rowing Club.

Chawla won the best of 13-frame contest 7-6 with the frame scores of 59-00, 59-14, 04-36, 31-14, 01-29, 22-34, 00-40, 09-34, 35-30, 35-25, 57-27, 00-33, 45-12.

“Kamal Chawla and Manan Chandra will join Pankaj Advani to represent India at the 6-Red World Championship that will be held at Sharm el-Shiekh in Egypt,” International Billiards and Snooker Federation (IBSF) president P.V.K. Mohan said.

“It is a great feeling to win my first national title even though I have played seven National finals in the past. This 6-Red format is very dicey. It was a close match that went the distance. The icing on the cake was that I could win in the presence of my coach and guru Geet Sethi,” Chawla said.

“I think I lost a bit of focus after winning the first two frames and lifted my head during shots, and Manan took the opportunity. In fact, he gave me quite a fright when he won four frames in a row (frames five to eight). But then I concentrated hard, remembered my coach Geet Sethi’s advice to keep my head down and managed to win the next three frames.”

Chawla’s opponent and runner-up Chandra said: “I made a crucial error in the ninth frame when I was leading 5-3 and played a bad safety short. Kamal capitalized and won the next three frames. Though I won the 12th frame to make it 6-6, it was not my day.”

Amee defeated Vidya 4-1 with the frame scores reading 38-7, 21-34, 29-27, 44-34, 30-21. The game started with Amee winning the first frame quite comfortably. But Vidya bounced back in the next frame to draw level. Thereafter there was no stopping Amee as she completely outplayed Vidya to grab the next three frames.

“Kolkata has been lucky for me. I won the snooker title here at the nationals last year. And now this. I’m ecstatic,” Kamani said.

Speaking on the match, ace billiards player Geet Sethi said: “It was a very, very fiercely and very high-quality match. Kamal showed nerves of steel even though he was trailing at the eight-frame mark.”

In the play-off for the third and fourth position in the men’s category, Aditya Mehta beat Pushpinder Singh 4-1 with frame scores of 7-44, 48-0, 46-8,38-13,43-19.

In the women’s category, Chitra M. (Karnataka) beat Neena Praveen(Tamil Nadu) 3-2 (11-50, 43-39, 18-39, 40-31, 49-22).

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