First-ever national snooker title after 21 years for Chawla

Since his debut, the cueist had won two silver and as many bronze in the national snooker championships.

Published: 24th December 2022 01:16 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th December 2022 02:02 AM   |  A+A-

Kamal Chawla with his wife Sonal and Shanaya after winning the national title. (Photo | Express)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Kamal Chawla, 43, competed for the first time in the national snooker championship in 2001. Since then, the 43-year-old cueist from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, has accounted for more than a dozen national and international medals on the green baize. With time, he changed his pet event from snooker to 6-red snooker and even won the national title in the latter six years ago. But the national snooker gold remained elusive. 

Kamal Chawla with the
national snooker trophy.

In the last 21 years, Chawla came closest to the title twice but lost the finals on both occasions — once against Aditya Mehta and the other against Pankaj Advani — in 2012 and 2014, respectively. Given his recent form — group stage exits from Turkey's World Snooker Championship and Kolkata Open — the thought of ending the title drought never crossed his mind when he started his campaign at the national championship in Indore. 

Losing a group stage game to Maharashtra's Sparsh Pherwani meant he was drawn against multiple world champion Pankaj Advani in the last-32 stage. Chawla, however, turned the tables on the national billiards champion Advani to win 5-4 before registering a come-from-behind 5-3 victory over Railways' Pushpender Singh in the last-16 stage.

He then registered a 5-0 win over R Girish in the quarterfinal before knocking out the reigning national champion, Ishpreet Singh, 5-4 in the semifinal. Pherwani was his opponent in the final once again and this time Chawla won 6-3 to be crowned champion.

"To be honest, I never thought I could win the title here," Chawla told this daily. "It was Pankaj (Advani), who thrashed me 6-1 in the national 6-red snooker championship semifinal a few days ago. I managed to win bronze there but facing him again was a big challenge. That win against him gave me confidence that I can go all the way and win the title," added Chawla.

Since his debut, the cueist had won two silver and as many bronze in the national snooker championships. Besides, he had also bagged three silver and a bronze in the 6-red snooker championships. His last medal in the national championship came in 2017 when he finished second in the 6-red snooker before he claimed two medals at the ongoing meet.

"It's not that I was not doing well but somehow I found ways to lose the semifinals and then the bronze-medal play-offs since that silver in 2017. I think it was destined to happen here as I not only ended the medal drought by winning 6-red snooker bronze first but also lifted the snooker title," signed off Chawla, who will compete next in the Masters' National Snooker Championship starting December 25 in Indore.

India Matters


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