MORE THAN two years ago, when Chandigarh snooker player Ranveer Duggal lost his father Sandeep Duggal to an infection, the youngster also lost a coach figure. Sandeep, a national level pool and snooker player, had made a young Ranveer to take up the sport and always wanted to see his son donning the Indian colours. Having finished in the top four in the snooker U-18 nationals in Pune early this year, 13-year-old Ranveer has been chosen in the Indian U-16 snooker team which will participate in the IBSF U-16 Snooker Championship to be held in St Petersburg, Russia, from October 2 to 8.
“My father always wanted to see me play for India. He won many national titles and was part of many India camps but never played in any international tournaments. I started in pool initially and representing India in World U-16 Snooker Championship is a dream come true for me. The semi-final finish in Pune has helped my game and if I win a medal in Russia, it would be the biggest tribute to my father,” said Ranveer, who will be part of the Indian team along with Krish of Mumbai and Digvijay from Haryana.
Ranveer achieved the feat of becoming the youngest player at the age of six to play in the national pool championship in Ludhiana in 2011 before being the youngest player to play in 6-red national snooker championship in Chandigarh the same year. The youngster became the junior and sub-junior champion in Chandigarh State Snooker Championship in 2015 before becoming the Chandigarh state champion in U-18 and U-21 snooker category last year. This year has seen Ranveer reach the semi-finals in the U-18 snooker nationals at Pune, where he lost to Krish in the semi-finals.
Ranveer’s father Sandeep was a friend of 16-time world billiards and snooker champion Pankaj Advani and the youngster met Advani during the national camp in Bengaluru. “Advani sir knew my father very well. And when he visited the national camp, he asked me about my game and spent some time with me. Last month, I also saw the Indian Open Snooker tournament in Vizag and got a chance to meet players like John Higgins. Observing their game also helped me understand things to do at the international level and I also aspire to play in Indian Open one day in my career. The weather in Russia will be a bit warm and adjusting to the weather conditions will be the key. Playing in different formats in the next two-three years will be a challenge for me and I am ready for it,” said Ranveer, who is a student of St Stephen’s School, Sector 45, and also played in U-18 World Championship in 2015.
Ranveer’s grandfather Rakesh Duggal is his coach nowadays and travels to the national tournaments with Ranveer. Rakesh, who is the secretary of Chandigarh Billiards and Snooker Championship, also made Ranveer play in billiards events. “The biggest strength for him has been his mental strength and the focus. In practice, he recently made a break of 142 and trained for more than six hours daily prior to the Russia event. My son could not play at the international level but seeing Ranveer representing India is the start of a new dream for all of us,” said Rakesh.