Carrying forward a legacy

Carrying forward a legacy

Being the son of a former world champion can have its pros and cons. While you are born with the game in your genes, living up to the benchmark set by your parent could be very demanding. One who has carried that weight on his shoulders is Sourav Kothari.

Son of Manoj, the 1990 World Billiards Championship winner, Kothari lived through a decade of frustration, failing to win a national or an international title despite being taught by his father from a very young age.

Lost in thought at squandering away many opportunities, Kothari, while possessing all the natural talent needed to be a top-level cueist, ended the agony at Chandigarh this January when he clinched his maiden national billiards title.

Riding high on the new-found confidence, the 30-year-old Kolkatan then captured the Asian Billiards Championship to finally live up to the promise he had been showing since his teenage years.

“This year has been incredible,” gushed Kothari. “When you win a national championship, it changes the way you approach the game and the way you feel about your game. Winning the Nationals completely changed everything. It was a big monkey off your back.

“When I went to play the Asian billiards, I followed certain things I did in the Nationals and was not thinking about the results of the game. I was being calm with myself and that really helped. Suddenly you have a mantra on what works right for you. I just followed that and went on to win the Asian Billiards.

“More than the achievement, I feel now I can enjoy my game, which I was not doing all these years. The pressure of winning was always on my mind. I was making it a matter of life and death which obviously hadn’t worked. Now, I’m at peace with myself.”

When asked if he brought any technical adjustments to his game, Kothari once again stressed his success was more to do with his changed mental approach. “I don’t think anything much has changed. I’m still practicing the same number of hours. It is only the mental change. It is all about letting go of the mental fear of losing and the burden of people saying, you should become a world champion now, people saying he should have won the national title by now or he is the son of a former world champion, such a big coach he has, still not winning. I’m just playing a stress free game now.”

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