Chasing a dream

“With seniors like Meenal Thakur and Chitra Magimairaj around, there is much to look forward to in the future,” says Varsha Sanjeev, who won three titles at the Nationals in Pune recently. By Avinash Nair.

Her hands were full and she did have some difficulty holding on to her trophies that included three winners' awards and a runner-up prize. It all reflected Varsha Sanjeev's fine performance at the National Championships in Pune recently.

Just as Varsha's triumphs (billiards and snooker) in the sub-junior section were on expected lines, her victory in the junior girls' billiards too came as no surprise. “The competition is the same in the sub-junior and junior sections and I missed the junior billiards (title) by just three points to Keerat Bandhal of Delhi,” said the 15-year-old student of Bangalore's Sophia's High School.

“The joy on the face of my parents and teachers was something I will go miles to see again, but I am going to enter the 10th Standard and I wish to concentrate on my academics. But then I want to play the Nationals too and the Internationals that come before the end of the year,” said Varsha.

In the National Championship in Agra in 2009, she came back empty handed. “That was my first year in the sport and I was just getting the hang of it,” Varsha said. But in the next championship in Pune (2010), she won the junior snooker title after defeating Keerat.

“Chennai was my most fruitful tournament — I not only won both my sub-junior titles (snooker and billiards) but also added the junior billiards crown, defeating Keerat again,” said Varsha.

What next for Varsha? “Well I am not making this my career. I will continue to play the sport (both snooker and billiards), but I wish to take up a degree in Engineering (Electronics),” she said.

“We — Keerat, I. Lahiri from Andhra Pradesh and myself — are all of the same age group. While Keerat is appearing for her Standard X exam this year, both Lahiri and I will be doing so next year. So it all depends. Arantxa Sanchis will be around, and with seniors like Meenal Thakur and Chitra Magimairaj, who are very dominant, there is much to look forward to in the future,” Varsha added.

Varsha, incidentally, is without a coach now. “I was going to Arvind (Savur) Sir but now that he is unwell, and so is M. G. Jayaram Sir, there are no coaches I can approach. I need a coach for my snooker,” Varsha said.

“I wish to play the World 6-Red Snooker Championships to be held later this year in India. I am eligible to play in the selection camp and if I manage to finish in the top two or three, I will be able to make it to the Indian team and that's one of my dreams. But I should admit that my practice sessions at the KSBA too will be minimised in the coming months (due to academics),” Varsha said before signing off.