It is a sport which produced city’s first World Cup champion in S. Appoorwa, and a World No. 2 in P. Nirmala, both from Life Insurance Corporation of India, but always looked down by many in the sports fraternity.
Yet, the unbridled passion of the Hyderabad Carrom Association officials led by the 72-year-old president B.K. Haranath and his team of dedicated officials including secretary S. Madanraj, Shobhan Raj make it a point that the carom players from the State (HYCA’s domain is only Telangana districts while Andhra has a separate Association) get the right platform to showcase their talent.
And, as part of these efforts was the 41st Senior Inter-District Championship for Men and Women at the Fateh Maidan Indoor Stadium. Like many of those sports other than cricket, badminton and tennis in India, there is no sponsorship for carom and the officials pool money on their own and from the well-wishers to spend close to Rs. 45,000 to host an event like this also.
As one steps into the dingy venue- which is strangely the balcony inside the Fateh Maidan Indoor Stadium- also happens to be the Regional Carrom Coaching Centre, thanks to the support of SAAP the way the players squeeze in to get adjusted to the ambience, brushing aside the frequent disruptions because of people moving around closely to the competition table is a pitiable sight indeed.
No doubt, carrom may continue to be the poor man’s sport, but it is always rich in spirit as champions are continuously being produced from this sport- thanks to the efforts of committed individuals in the Association.