Nine-year-old Tanvee Vallem is set to become the youngest player ever to participate in the Predator World Junior 9-Ball Championship, starting on Monday.
Tanvee, a non-resident Indian, has been invited by the World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) in conjunction with the Billiards and Snooker Federation of India (BSFI) to represent India in the tournament in San Juan, Puerto Rico, as per a media release. She is the only player to represent India in the junior girls category and will be facing stiff competition as the average age of the other players in the category is 15 years.
Ludhiana’s Alok Kumar, 42, will be representing the country in the men’s category.
Born in Hyderabad, Tanvee now lives in Maryland in the United States with her parents. She was in the spotlight when she participated in her maiden international event - SVB Junior Open - in October, a tournament organised by Matchroom Pool for players under 17 years of age. She had finished joint 33rd.
According to Tanvee’s father, her interest in the game started early this year when he got a pool table at home for his own pastime. “Tanvee soon got interested in it and wanted to beat me at the pool and asked me to teach her,” father Veeresh said.
Soon after, Veeresh came across the Break and Run Junior Instruction Program, a free program by Billiard Education Foundation (BEF) for children. The program is coached by Master Instructor, ‘Roy Pastor’, who has guided many junior students who went on to become national champions. Tanvee has been in the online program for the past four months and is currently working on her stance and alignment.
The Pro Billiard Series organises a series of events across the world providing a way to qualify for several World Championships.