Meet Dr Mohammed Khizar Raoof and Dr Vanapalli Chandra Chud, the State number one in snooker and table tennis respectively. They are doctors by profession and sportspersons out of passion.
The two have more or less treaded on the same path. Both chose the sport at junior level and then took a break to continue with their medical education and on becoming doctors they have returned to the sport which they love the most despite their tight schedule.
Swapping stetho for cue
Raoof’s first stint at the green baize came at Nizam Club when he used to accompany his uncle Minhaz, who was a reputed State player. “I used to play pool parlour before my uncle took me to Nizam Club. I got attracted to billiards and snooker very soon,’’ said Raoof, who became junior champion when he was 13 years old.
With eye on a career in medicine, Raoof had to make adjustments to his tight schedule to squeeze in some time to play billiards and snooker during the weekends. His efforts bore fruits and he became India number four in the juniors. In 2008, he completed his MBBS and became a doctor.
But the hunger to achieve success in cue sport made Raoof try his hand at snooker. “I could not resist this sport. I went to United Kingdom where I played as a professional in Cue School for three years in 2008. It was one of the best moments of my career where I could learn so much about the game,” he said.
Raoof had to stop playing his favourite sport again in 2012 to do his post-graduation. “During this time, I played but not with same intensity. But interestingly, my best show came after my post graduation. I realized this sport improved my concentration immensely,” he added.
Having completed his post-graduation, Raoof is playing actively again. “I want to give a try again as a professional before following in my father’s foot steps who is a doctor in urology,’’ he said.
No stopping this champ
The left-handed Chandra Chud’s love with table tennis began at the age of 13 when he used play with his brother Shashidar. Chandra Chud soon became a top ranked table tennis player and won a gold medal in the team events in 1996-97. He was selected for the Petroleum Sport Control Board Academy at Jaipur and trained under a Chinese coach. He represented the country in 1997. However, because of his father’s health, Chandra Chud had to stop his journey in table tennis for a brief while and returned to Vijayawada. He soon enrolled himself in the Guntur Medical University and passed his MBBS. He went to complete his MD in NRI medical College and he is now a psychiatrist in Care Hospital here.
“Even though I had to leave the Jaipur camp to pursue my studies, I continued to play for my college and represented NTR University. The game always helped me to be fit. I had to balance my studies and the game,’’ said Chandra Chud.
Despite hectic schedule, Chandra Chud takes time off to play table tennis. “Instead of the usual four to five hours of practice, I have to compromise with only two hours of training in the evening,” he said.
Ever since he made his comeback, Chandra Chud has dominated the men’s singles event and became State champions in 2012 and 2014. This year, he participated in three tournaments and won two of them in the Telangana State championship.