Bhubaneswar: Surge Sports on the roll . Bhubaneswar witnessed yet another Sports Camp organized by Surge Sports . Amidst all other physical games , Surge Sports had planned an open category Camp for budding and aspiring cueist of the state. These cueists were surprised to be informed that they will receive skill training and match performance analytics in Snooker from none other than , India’s first
professional snooker player , Arjuna Awardee Shri Yasin Merchant , ACBS Asian Championship Gold twice, Asian Gold in 2002, 65th Ranked Former World Snooker Professional who is WPBSA World Snooker Coach – Grade 2. He has been successfully training young cueists in his state of art Yasin Merchant Snooker Academy in Mumbai.
The two day camp was well attended on both the days and the participants received their skill training at Bhubaneswar Club. Bhubaneswar Club was a perfect venue for the camp as its association with the game dates back to 1950 . The Club also hosted the “Men’s Nationals” for both billiards & snooker in 1995 . Odisha has also hosted the 1996 “NALCO OPEN” IBSF World Billiards Championship.
Yasin Merchant said that some of the young cueist who attended the camp have raw potential and if given right amount of exposure and skill training , strength to participate in international tournaments, can become pride of the state and find good foothold in the specter of Cue Sports. Yasin exhorted the
CEO of Surge Sports , Amrita Mohapatra , Former India No 2 (1997, 1998 ) Billiards , to start a professional academy to help these youngsters and also hold lot of tournaments inside the state itself.
He added that given the present upsurge of sports in Odisha which has become a beacon for other states in the country and is metamorphosing into a global sports destination, such a proposal would be definitely appealable to the state’s stakeholders. Yasin also pointed out that the National Federation and State Associations should wake up to the call and become active participants to promote the game in a larger scale as India is not only the founding country of Snooker game but is a strong nation when it comes to performances in Cue Sport disciplines of Billiards & Snooker. Over the years Indian players have won more than 40 World Championships apart from numerous Asian events. India had performed exceedingly well in the Asian Games in 1998, 2002 & 2006 where it won Gold Medals in all the three Asian Games Billiards & Snooker are set to regain entry into the Asian Games in 2023 & also efforts are ongoing to make it an Olympic game. Cue Sports at last 2010 Asian Games had a medal table of 40 . Such huge medal table is a good hunting ground for India to increase its medal tally in International arena’s. Interestingly , the CEO of the organizing sports enterprise Surge Sports, Amrita Mohapatra is the only cueist from the state in both Men & Women category to ever reach Senior National Finals .
Similarly Ashutosh Padhy , is yet another Cueist from the state who is credited to be the 4th in India to achieve a hattrick of wins in Cue Sports in a single year. In 2014, in Lucknow , Ashutosh won Junior Snooker Nationals, Sub – Junior Billiards National , Sub-Junior Snooker Nationals . The feat has been achieved by
Pankaj Advani, Geet Sethi and Dhruv Haria. In 2018 , he beat Pankaj Advani in Senior Men Nationals 32nd Round . Odisha too has the potential of producing cueing stalwarts if given support and enthusiasm in the right direction.
CEO , Surge Sports added that , the presence of Yasin Merchant and success of the Training camp are beginning of a change in the Cue sport scenario in the state. She said that they will be approaching the Sports & Youth Services Department, Government of Odisha with a proposal of replicating a state of art Billiards & Snooker Academy with Yasin Merchant as Advisor and also hire the services of iconic coaches to impart skill training to the budding cueists of the state.