SPORT

Manan Chandra bows out

Busan Oct. 5. Manan Chandra, who revived India's hopes for a medal in the snooker singles after the first round defeat of Yasin Merchant on Friday failed to live up to expectations losing 1-3 to unseeded Neona Tola of Cambodia.

It was a shock result given Chandra's ominous form, which assisted him in eliminating Nappadol Sangnil of Thailand and Marco Fu of Hong Kong in the opening two matches yesterday.

His short, baby-faced opponent, rose to the occasion in remarkable fashion and egged on by a Cambodian cheer team, played percentage snooker to reach the semifinal.

He eventually lost to Ding Junhui of China, the 15-year-old prodigy, who has reached a milestone of sorts by becoming the youngest winner of the Asian under-21 snooker, world under-21 snooker and Asian snooker championships — all in one year. Ding had played well below his best in the snooker team and doubles events but this evening he seemed to re-discover his silken touch and accurate potting and reached the final with an emphatic 3-0 victory over the Cambodian cueist.

He went on to win the gold with a 3-1 victory over Supoj Saenla of Thailand to add yet another title to his impressive list of achievements.

In nine-ball pool, Mukesh Rehani went on to win his second round match but fell prey to self imposed pressures, which get magnified when one plays for the honour of seeing your country's flag being raised at the awards ceremony. Rehani was aided by some good fortune, but at 7-8 down, he muffed a simple black 8 ball that would have put him in prime position to pot the 9 ball and level scores at 8-8. He never got a chance after that as his more acomplished Philippine opponent Warren Kiamco cruised to victory.

The Billiards doubles commences on Sunday at 10 a.m. and will be played to a conclusion with nine-ball doubles pool also being played at the same time. Whilst in doubles pair of Alok Kumar and myself are the firm favourites for the gold, one must not forget that the format — best-of-three 100-point games — is designed to give a better chance to the underdogs. Having said that we will leave no stone unturned to get that gold.

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