Delhis Manan Chandra defeated Rafat Habib 5-3 in the last encounter of the 8-ball pool during the selection trials,thus clinching rights to be Indias sole representative in the segment at international events this year.
With this,Manan retained his top ranking that he won in the Kolkata Nationals last May,pushing Alok Kumar to the second spot. Elated after the win,Manan said he had to summon his best to defeat Habib,the winner of the 9-ball contest. It was a good game but I had to be spot on when Rafat (Habib) is my opponent. He is always calm and scheming and I couldnt have taken any chances, said Manan,after the last match.
Manan admitted that Alok was unlucky to lose to him as he missed some crucial points during their game. That was the only game he lost and I knew the best way to tackle him is to take early lead. That was precisely what I did and it worked, added Manan.
Alok rued his mistakes at crucial junctures both in the 8 and 9-ball trials. In fact,Alok had finished runner-up to Habib in the 9-ball event trials just a few days back. The Punjab player had an excellent run in both events right from the beginning but could not maintain his rhythm against a steady Habib first in 9-ball and two days later to Manan in 8-ball league.
Manan,who will be a strong contender for a medal at the Asian Indoor Games later this year at Ho-Chi Min City,said he now has the added responsibility after becoming India No. 1 in 8-ball pool. I will have to work hard from now on to meet the challenge, he said.
Meanwhile,the BSFI is all set to hire a foreign coach,even if it is for a shorter duration,to train the pool players,particularly Manan and Habib,who will represent India in international events.
BSFI vice-president R.K. Tandon told Sportline that under the Sports Authority of Indias LTDP scheme,the federation was entitled to hire foreign coaches.
We will soon be submitting our proposal to the sports ministry once we finalise on the name of the coach, he said.