On a comeback trail

Snooker World Championship

A promising junior cueist, an aspiring doctor and tipped as one for the future, a combination of several factors left Manudev with no choice but to quit the game, studies and leave the city he had adopted since childhood in 1999. But after battling through the various odds life threw at him with calmness, the affable Manudev made a much awaited return to the sport in 2008, making a modest impression without any signs of rust despite a decade off from the game.

“It was really difficult to leave the game abruptly,” said Manudev, who celebrated his 37th birthday this month and will be competing in next week’s IBSF World Snooker Championship in Bangalore. “A combination of factors forced me out. I did want to play and compete but I hardly had time to practice.

“It’s only in Bangalore that I am able to train. Once I am out of the City, I get no chance at all. Slowly, I lost touch and my focus also shifted. However, all that is off my head now and I am completely focussed on snooker now.”

Manudev, who will be competing in his second world snooker championship and is relishing his second innings, finished a respectable eighth in the 2008 KSBA State-ranking snooker tournament -- his first comeback event. The following year, he reached the last-16 stage of the 2009 National snooker championship before before signing off fourth this year in Chennai after losing to eventual champion Aditya Mehta in the semifinals. In 2009, Manudev impressed in the World Snooker Championship in Hyderabad, advancing to the last-32 stage.

When asked the secret behind his decent show on his second entry, Manudev attributed it to improved maturity. “Earlier, during our younger days, we used just go bang, bang, bang. Pot at sight was the formula. However, I’ve realised that to remain consistent one needs to have patience, a proper game plan and a mature mind.

“I think, as you grow old, you tend to learn all this. By nature, I am a very calm person and I’ve tried to imbibe that into my game as well. I hardly get panicked and rarely show any emotion nowadays. I’ve improved on my potting and safety play as well.”

Stating that his primary target is to advance to the knockout stage, Manudev felt it is a dream to be playing at the KSBA.

“This is where I started and it is an honour to be playing a world event. The preparation for this event has been good. The primary goal is advance to the knockout stage.

Thereafter, it’s anybody’s game. With so many players in the draw it’s hard to devise a strategy. Hopefully, I will be able to come good in the end.”

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