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Will carrom strike gold?

Will carrom strike gold?
Highlights

It is one of the few sports where India enjoys a significant domination. Carrom that has its origins in India enjoys massive popularity not only in the country but in over 50 nations, where its stature as a popular indoor sport has been on a phenomenal high. 

It is one of the few sports where India enjoys a significant domination. Carrom that has its origins in India enjoys massive popularity not only in the country but in over 50 nations, where its stature as a popular indoor sport has been on a phenomenal high.

What is significant is that carrom, like kabaddi, has always had a mindboggling Indian domination. It is one of those few disciplines, which has been able to attract a good chunk of young players despite it being seen essentially as one, which elders prefer to play to while away time. True that it was an amateur sport that could be the best indoor option, similar to chess.

However, the uniqueness of carrom is that it has grown by leaps and bounds as a professional sport. The world governing body has ensured that it spreads into newer regions. There is already talk about the launch of a global carrom league.

Given the manner it has been attracting more and more players, it is even more heart-warming that the two Telugu-speaking states have been producing world champions almost at regular intervals. For instance, K Srinivas and S Appoorwa have been on top of the world with their amazing conquests that helped put Andhra Pradesh on the world map. Appoorwa and Kajol Kumari added to the legend when they won the women’s doubles event in the seventh World Carrom Championship at Birmingham in November.

The sport is back in the headlines thanks to stellar efforts by a 16-year-old girl Husna Sameera and 22-year-old Allada Pavan, who created a Guinness record for the ‘longest marathon carrom playing’ by registering 34 hours, 45 minutes and 56 seconds in Vijayawada.

Of course, one could argue that the feat lacked any competitive zeal. What cannot be denied, though, is that the two youngsters demonstrated that passion and the will to patiently hang on are paramount even when undertaking such an exercise.

A shot in the arm for the sport came recently when the International Carrom Federation launched ‘Mission Green’. The innovation, whereupon the board bears a pleasant-to-the-eye green surface, has come as a fillip to the sport. Not to be left behind, the Hyderabad Carrom Association has brought the green culture into India with the conduct of the maiden green carrom tournament that is underway in Hyderabad. Players are as optimistic as administrators and coaches that this is here to stay.

Alas, for all its greatness and rising popularity, the players remain an obscure lot because they are not known to the world beyond the firmament. The national association has been pleading for better rewards and possible financial benefits, but to no avail. Barring the odd congratulatory messages from the policy makers whenever an Indian wins international honours, there is nothing for carrom players to rejoice in.

Except for a select few government undertakings, there is no sports quota recruitment for them. It is time the government of the day changed its mindset and gave hope to such outstanding ambassadors rather than dole out favours to some Ranji players, who may never play Test cricket.

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