As the famous adage goes, he was beaten but not disgraced. That is the 27-year-old E. Pandurangaiah of Nellore when he gave anxious moments for the former world champion Shaun Murphy in the qualifying round before bowing out of the Indian Open world ranking snooker tournament here on Tuesday night.
For someone who shot into national limelight thanks to his stunning appearance in the Senior nationals final where he lost to the formidable Pankaj Advani this February, Pandu, as he is affectionately called by his friends, owes his wild card entry to Capt P.V.K. Mohan, president of BSFI.
“‘This was a great experience for me and a dream come true. I thank Mohan Sir for giving me this huge opportunity,” said a visibly contented but a sober Pandu later on.
It is a truly remarkable story of triumph over adversity as Pandu reveals that having lost his father when he was young, it was his mother, working as an áyah’ in a hospital in Nellore who took care of him. “I had to discontinue education too after second standard.”
“It was a real struggle for me being the only son. It is never easy to play any sport coming from such a poor background. But, I am grateful to my mother’s (Venkatamma) huge support,” he recalled.
Interestingly, Pandu started playing snooker in 2002 in a parlour in Nellore and later worked in the same to keep playing. When the Nellore District Snooker officials saw me playing, they asked me whether I would be keen to play in competitions, he said.
“In my first-ever State under-21 championship in Hyderabad in 2007 I lost in the first round. That doubled up my determination to be a more serious player and after that I played in 11 State-level tournaments finals and win two titles,” says the Class IV employee of SCR.
The fact that Pandu is now India No. 2 in snooker is a truly remarkable success story even as he chases the dream of winning a gold medal in the Asian Games and looking for financial support to pursue his passion.