Six-time National snooker champion Vidya Pillai of Tamil Nadu and the reigning 9-ball pool champion Suniti Damani of Bengal have been working out rigorously for the past one month at the Bengal Rowing Club with a single aim but different destinations in mind.

An experienced Vidya, 34, having retained the title last year, took a sabbatical because she was in the family way, has qualified for the IBSF world snooker championship at Sofia (Bulgaria) from November 24 to December 2 along with Arantxa Sanchis of Maharashtra. “I could hardly practice after I qualified for the Worlds at Hyderabad in July. My son, Surya, needed all my attention. I decided to move to Kolkata so that my parents could take care of my eight-month-old son while I got quality practice,” says Vidya.

For Suniti this opportunity was special. “I learnt a lot during the month-long practice. Vidya corrected certain routines, which is going to benefit me during the solo workout and in competition,” feels Suniti.

The Bengal cueist’s major problem is lack of competition at home. She overcomes it with regular practice and with an occasional match against men, including Sourav Kothari.

Suniti is determined to make the November 17-24 National in Mumbai a memorable one. “It is tough but I will give my best shot to retain the title,” the 32-year-old said.

Even at the world level, Vidya is a seasoned campaigner. She has participated in six Worlds and has a bronze medal from the 2010 championship in Syria. Her immediate plan is to better the record.

“I want to make this Worlds count. I am gaining in confidence and my play is picking up. I will be taking part in the State-ranking meet in Chennai later this month and return to Kolkata for another long practice before leaving for Sofia,” said Vidya, who won a National 9-ball pool title in 2005.

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