After more than sixty state titles,one would not expect Jameel Ahmed to be as nervous as a first timer at the Delhi State Carrom Championships at the Thyagaraj Stadium. Competition can give you jitters at any moment. Pressure can decide who is the winner. A lot of people and competitors might be thinking that I may win this time as well but it is a game like any other and can change hands, the explains the 48-year-old,now in his 37th year of competition.
On Monday,he cleared both his qualification rounds and is to play the pre-quarter Tuesday. Ahmed is hopeful for another title but remains cautious. He only grins and explains how his matches on the day were easy as compared to what lies ahead.
With his pile of titles Ahmed may be a legend among carrom aficionados in the state,he is aware that for the majority of peoples outside the hall at Thyagaraj Stadium the sport is seen as an outdated pastime. No sport is boring. They just have varying levels of excitement. An outsider may consider Carrom a boring game but it takes your toll when you know that you have only eight chances to clear the table and gather 25 points. Sometimes the opponent finishes the board with a single break and you just keep waiting for your chance. You are constantly racking your brain thinking of various experiments and different scenarios and the best one works, says Ahmed.
With the Senior National scheduled next month,the championships are a vital cog in the wheel. For Jameel the National Championship will be doubly important as he is the defending champion,winning his maiden title last time. Having performed there once he is now keen to test his abilities.
Every tournament is important. I get to play with different players offering me different situations. I have represented the country and I know how it feels to be up there. I am working hard this time and hopefully I will perform well in the Senior Nationals, he says.