Sub-junior snooker: India No. 1 spot in Haryana teen’s pocketMay 24, 2018
It took Rajesh Kadian a year to convince former snooker national champion Alok Kumar to look at the game of his son. His persistence paid off four years ago when Kumar watched an 11-year-old Digvijay in action and thought: “This kid is unique.” At 15, that Haryana boy is India number 1 in the sub-junior category.
Being an active player when Kadian approached him five years ago, Kumar wasn’t keen on coaching but Digvijay’s game left in awe. Last December, Kumar’s protege defeated two-time Asian champion Dhruv Sitwala in Chennai. “Even I was stunned at his victory,” Kumar says. “It took time to sink in. That was just a glimpse of his brilliance. In a couple of years, he’ll be among the top snooker players of India.”
Digvijay, of course, knows a thing or two about living up to the expectations. He finished second in the under-18 Indore national championship in January 2016 and among top 32 in the Belgium World Championship of 2015. In this year’s nationals at Bengaluru, he won the U-18 title. “It was an emotional moment for me,” Divijay said, “because my mentor and my dad were among the spectators. For two years, I was finishing second but this year I was desperate to win. The motivation to be the national champion helped me to the number-one position.”
The young cueist is in China to prepare for the U-18 Beijing World Championship that will start on July 2. “I am going to meet many of my competitors during the preparatory camp. It will be a great learning experience to observe the world’s best in my age group,” Digvijay said. Before the world championship, will spend 10 days training with Alok Kumar in Chandigarh.
Asked what he liked about snooker, the Rohtak lad said: “It is a game that requires both mental strength and physical fitness. Exercise gives you the mental freshness for a 40-minute-to-six-hour game and helps you keep your focus.” Kumar says his student is a champion material “better than Pankaj Advani was at 15”. Advani is 19-time world champion in English billiards and snooker.
Asked about Digvijay’s chances at the world championship, his coach said: “I am expecting a challenging performance. The big test will help his understand his strengths and weaknesses and you will see him a better player after the tournament.”