“I began playing snooker only last March,” says Peter Paul. “Before that, I didn’t even know what it was.”
It is an astonishing revelation, for Peter is Tamil Nadu’s top-ranked junior (under-21) in snooker, and sub-junior (under-19) champion in both snooker and billiards. Later this year, Peter will represent the State in the National Championships at Agra.
It has been a truly bewildering turn of events for the 17-year-old from Jolarpet, who arrived in Chennai less than two years ago to work as a marker at the Tamil Nadu Billiards and Snooker Association.
Playing mostly against members as a practice partner, Peter has logged a lot of table time as part of marker duty at TNBSA and, now, at League Club. “I play six or seven hours of snooker in a day,” he says.
He has made this dizzying climb without any formal coaching. “So far,” says Peter, “my potting has developed quite well, but I need to work on the other aspects.”
Peter says that S.K.N. Rajmohan, head coach at Cues and You, has agreed to help him fine-tune his game.
Of the forthcoming Nationals, he says, “the competition will be pretty tough in the juniors, but I have a chance in the sub-juniors. In any case, it should be a good experience.”
Little in Peter’s childhood pointed to what lay ahead. Did he play any sport at school?
He shakes his head and thinks for a second, before answering, “a few local carrom tournaments, but I didn’t win anything. I wasn’t really good at it.”
After completing his tenth standard, Peter joined an electrician’s course at an Industrial Training Institute in Tirupattur, but dropped out after three months, and like his father and brother did before him, set out to find work in Chennai, where destiny awaited him.
Even so, Peter is still only a fledgling in the game, and his aim now isn’t so much about winning major titles but achieving a degree of stability in his life.
“I hope, through snooker, that I get a sports quota job in the Railways,” he says.