Dream come true for Mizoram lad

Accidental player Renthlei hopes to make it big in snooker

Two years after he embraced the sport for the second time after completing his 12th grade, the 20-year-old from Aizawl in Mizoram, will be competing at the World Snooker Championship that is scheduled to kick off here at the KSBA on Monday.

“It is a dream come true,” gushed Renthlei. “Ten years ago, when I first started to play the game I never imagined I would be competing at the world stage. When the national federation (BSFI) called me and told me that I would be playing in the world championship, I initially thought it must be for pool.

“I was reluctant to play because I wanted to concentrate only on snooker. A couple of days later, the Mizoram federation secretary called me to his office and showed me the mail from BSFI. Only then I realised it was for the snooker championship. I just couldn’t believe it and immediately sat and finished all the necessary formalities,” remarked Renthlei here on Thursday.

Renthlei’s tryst with cue sports and subsequent rise is stuff of a fairytale. One evening after a game of basketball in Aizawl, his friends forcefully took him to a pool parlour. Just 10 years old then, Renthlei looked completely out of place, and when he tried to push his way out, he was forced back in by his friends and was handed a cue stick.

A few days later, the youngster stumbled upon a snooker match on television and the game caught the teenager’s fancy then. “I was completely bowled over by the way those guys kept potting ball after ball. I wanted try my hand and took up the game immediately.

I played for a few years but had to discontinue due to academics. Now that I’ve completed 12th grade, I am fully focussed on making it big in snooker,” said Renthlei, who has represented his State several times in basketball national championships and is a quality drummer as well.

Unlike many youngsters of his age, Renthlei is good at both pool and snooker -- two completely different disciplines of cue sports. In 2010 nine-ball pool nationals, he knocked out defending champion Rafath Habib in the round of 64 before falling short in the next round. In this year’s nationals, he finished fifth in the eight-ball event and lost to eventual champion Alok Kumar in the nine-ball event. This August, he gave enough evidence of his multi-tasking skills, clinching the junior national snooker title in Chennai.

Renthlei, however, wants to channel his energies only on snooker now. “Pool is fun while snooker is for the intellectuals. There are no flukes and one needs to be really good to succeed. My aim is to play professional snooker and I see this event as a huge stepping stone. I believe I am destined to play snooker and I am going to give it everything,” he signed off.

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