As a 14-year old,Bhavesh Sagar started playing cricket seriously. Only a month and half into it,he quit,settling instead for playing snooker on his computer. Eventually,the computer game became his passion. Four years on,Bhavesh played his first ever snooker tournament in real life,winning it undefeated. He went from being unseeded to becoming Delhi’s no.1 in the junior state championship and as a reward will now attend a fortnight-long camp under Yasin Merchant.
After he won the junior Delhi title,the Delhi Snooker and Billiards Association (DSBA) announced that both Sagar and Azim Khan will visit Yasin Merchant in a week’s time. With the cue sport nationals just two months away,the association with the snooker legend could not have come at a better time for Sagar, to help his preparations for the tournament in Pune.
“Sagar is a talented cueist. The way he has played throughout the tournament has been commendable. Being his first tournament, handling nerves is key and I think he has shown immense potential. We have decided that Bhavesh Sagar and Azim Khan will be sent to the Yasin Merchant Academy for exposure,” affirmed Billiards and Snooker Federation of India (BSFI) vice-president Ravi Tandon.
That Sagar is talented is no doubt. Though he defeated Azim Khan 3-1 (40-28,87-46,9-47,51-19) in the final match of the round robin format,he had hardly experienced any hiccups en route to the final. Speaking to Sportline,Sagar modestly credits his off-field dedication and those strenuous hours that he put in during practice at Baba billiards academy under the able guidance of his coach Ayush Bansal for the win.
He also had for inspiration,one of India’s finest. As a 14-year-old child,Sagar developed the habit of picking up style and strokes by watching videos of his idol Pankaj Advani. “The only thing I knew was that Pankaj Advani had won his first national at the age of 17. I also told myself that if he can play brilliant snooker,why can’t I. If he can play for the country,why can’t I and make my parents proud.
“Playing snooker on the computer,I would wonder how I could make a few shots and when I watched Advani actually pull them off,I wanted to do it too. It boosted me to perfect those shots.
“Soon I joined the academy and requested Ayush sir to guide me. I am happy that my hard work in following my idol has landed my first reward,” said Sagar.
Though he comes from a business background” going the Pankaj Advani way was still straightforward for Sagar as his father couldn’t promise a snooker table at home. Sagar then had to travel miles everyday to practice at his academy.
“I wanted it that way because I knew that Pankaj Advani got a table when he was 13. But I guess it wasn’t possible for my father and hence I had to join an academy. I have no regrets because that way I got to train under my coach who helped me to reach this far,” he added.
Sagar now hopes that his forthcoming training camp will help him level up,and will help him be one of the candidates who will vie for the title at the national-level.
“I am lucky to be going to train under Merchant sir. I hope I will get better from there and will put in my hundred percent in Pune,” he signed off.”