Billiards Nationals: Sourav Kothari claims title

Sourav Kothari capped his brilliant run in this edition of the National championship by claiming the title in style with a 5-2 verdict against an ambitious Siddharth Parikh here on Saturday.

Sourav Kothari with the trophy.

Sourav Kothari had a promise to keep. His father, Manoj, was a name to reckon with in the world of billiards. The legacy was a worthy motivator and Sourav capped his brilliant run in this edition of the National championship by claiming the title in style with a 5-2 verdict against an ambitious Siddharth Parikh here on Saturday.

It was a quality contest with each player responding to the challenge. “I thought he played brilliantly. He set up a fine battle with a century break in the opening frame itself,” said Kothari even as Parikh congratulated him warmly. The camaraderie was not to be missed even though Parikh, on his maiden entry to the final, had high hopes of winning today.

“It is a gentle sport. No punching in the air. We know each other well, travel a lot together, have a meal together. The rivalry is healthy,” remarked Kothari.

Parikh felt, “The pressure of playing my first final played on my mind. I started late but it was not the same as yesterday (when he beat Pankaj Advani). I think Sourav played very well, potted the ball like a champion. His game was solid because if I got a century break he too responded with one.”

Parikh set the standards for the final with a break of 100 in the opening frame but Kothari came up with an unfinished break of 120. “I stole that frame from him,” observed Kothari. Having warmed up, Kothari swept the second frame comfortably and breaks of 137 and 115 ensured he remained on the right track. At 4-0, it appeared a runaway finish for Kothari.

“I never thought I would get a start like this. I knew he would feel the pressure because it was his first final but he is a formidable player. The win against Pankaj had boosted his confidence and I was aware of his reputation to play calmly. Here, it was a question of adapting and my father had told me a few things about controlling the shots. I had to play my normal game and keep the pressure away. No negative thoughts,” said Kothari.

Kothari faced resistance in the fifth and sixth frames when Parikh raised his game with breaks of 112 and an unfinished 145. “I was making some silly errors and not thinking rightly. I was aware of Parikh’s ability to hit back but I had to win just one frame.”

The result (final):

Sourav Kothari beat Siddharth Parikh 5-2 (154-112, 150-112, 150-82, 151-15, 104-151, 93-150, 150-31).