Snooker starlet

K. PICHUMANI

Winning a maiden national title has a special charm. It was Aditya Mehta's turn to experience it on a Chennai evening when he won the junior snooker title beating Pankaj Advani. The first call on the mobile phone was from his father. What better way than share the happiness with members of his family — father, mother and sisters — who had encouraged him all along?

Aditya's father is a diamond merchant, which meant the youngster had assured financial support. It took him a while to switch from cricket and football, where he did fairly well, to the cue sport.

Exclusive hours at the Chembur Gymkhana snooker table helped the B. Com student and there was former national champion Arvind Savur — the person who spotted Pankaj Advani — to put him on course.

Thanks to his father's support, Aditya was coached in Northampton in England, and he got opportunities to play in the junior professional circuit.

"Only the best get to play and it is a great experience to learn from mistakes and also watch better players," said Aditya, who has played in the Under-21 World Cup and earned a bronze in the Asian Championship. But winning the national crown gave him the greatest joy.