India’s Sourav Kothari overcame a stiff challenge from former World Billiards champion Praprut Chaitanasakun of Thailand to win gold at the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan on Monday.
This is India’s first medal in cue-sports in this year’s competition.
In other events, three wrestlers bagged bronze medals while Prarthana Thombare and Vishnuvardhan Jagadeesan won silver in mixed doubles tennis. The Indian duo lost to 7-5 4-6 2-6 to Thailand’s Kadchapanan and Tertpitaksinchai in the final.
Sandeep Tomar (men’s freestyle 61 kg), Pooja Dhanda (women’s freestyle 58 kg) and Deepak (men’s freestyle 86 kg) won bronze through repechage rounds. These three medals in wrestling came a day after Bajrang Punia’s gold on Sunday.
With 29 medals overall (7 gold, 8 silver, 14 bronze) India remain 12th on the medal table for the event.
Kothari won the match 3-1 as he capitalised on a last minute error by Praprut, who needed just 20 points to win the frame. Coming from behind, the Indian braved the early jitters and pressure of the big final to win the first frame by 100-80 points, reported PTI.
Building on the good start, Kothari went all guns blazing into the second game, even as a visibly edgy Praprut gave the Indian an opportunity to make a dent.
Kothari never looked back, grabbing the opportunity with both hands to construct a fabulous unfinished break of 101 points to seal the second frame (101-0) and take a dominating 2-0 lead.
However, in the third game, Praprut rose to the occasion and Kothari seemed under pressure as he came close to the finishing line. A regulation canon missed by Kothari handed a brilliant opportunity to Praprut, who steadily went on to construct a break of 57 points and managed to win the third game 101-29.
Kothari was caught off-guard and the pressure was back on him as Praprut yet again started building a break after both the players missed a couple of openings in the 4th game.
Sitting on 88 points, on a break of 73 and needing just 12 more to force a sudden death decider, Praprut gave an unexpected chance to Kothari and he took control of the table.
Faced with the daunting task of getting the remaining 89 points while Praprut sat just a few shots away from winning the game, Kothari showed uncanny resilience and calmness under intense pressure to construct a break of 89 points amidst a roaring crowd and sealed the frame 101-88.