Keerthana, Shrikrishna shine at National Snooker & Billiards Championship

Tamil Nadu's S. Shrikrishna and Karnataka's P. Keerthana were a class apart from the rest at the sub-junior and junior National snooker and billiards championship, as Shrikrishna pocketed all four titles on offer, while Keerthana captured three.

P. Keerthana and S Srikrishna won three and four titles respectively in the Sub Junior and Junior National Billiards and Snooker Championship at KSBA in Bengaluru on Sunday.   -  Sampath Kumar G. P.

Tamil Nadu’s S. Shrikrishna and Karnataka’s P. Keerthana stood head and shoulders above the rest in the sub-junior and junior National snooker and billiards championship, which concluded at KSBA here on Sunday.

While Shrikrishna pocketed all four titles on offer, Keerthana captured three trophies before going down to Ishika Shah in the junior girls’ snooker final.

Shrikrishna underlined his class with high breaks in this championship – 255 (sub-junior billiards), 215 (junior billiards), 67 (sub-junior snooker), and an unfinished 85 (junior snooker). The National Public School (Chennai) boy went one better than his showing in the previous edition of the Nationals, where he won three titles. “I didn’t enter the tournament with an aim to win all four trophies. I just want to play to my full potential,” Shrikrishna said.

Though the 17-year-old is being touted as the next big thing, expectations sit lightly on his shoulders. “I don’t have any long-term goal. You never know what the future brings; I’ll take it as it comes,” Shrikrishna.

READ: Winning three medals back-to-back is special, says Advani

Keerthana’s ascent to a top-rated junior has been swift. She only picked up a cue a little over two years ago. Her father Pandian, who works in BEML at Kolar, explained, “My wife, Keerthana and I used to visit Bengaluru regularly, as I represented KGF-BEML Club in the
Century Club inter-club snooker tournament. A trip to Bengaluru was considered a family outing. Around three years ago, Keerthana saw Varsha Sanjeev in action during the tournament. She asked me, ‘How come that ‘akka’ is playing snooker?’. I said ‘Anybody can play. Girls can play too; there are no restrictions’. That was how Keerthana was drawn to the sport. She then started to play at KGF-BEML Club in Kolar.”

In order to help Keerthana make a mark on the big stage, her family decided that she should train at KSBA here. “We travel from Kolar to Bengaluru every weekend to facilitate her training. C. Ravindranath is her coach," Pandian said.

The 15-year-old Keerthana - an Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) sports scholarship awardee - named Pankaj Advani as her favourite player. “Since we both train at KSBA, we meet quite often. Pankaj even gave me a few helpful tips to improve my cueing and my bridge work. He is an inspiration for all of us,” the Kendriya Vidyalaya (Kolar) student said.

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