52-Year-Old Bhaskar Wins Gold at National Games, Cites Fitness Regimen for Success
Bhaskar Balachandra’s rigorous fitness routine and skill secured him a gold medal in Men’s Billiards at the National Games. Learn about his dedication to the sport and the need for greater support for cue sports.
At the 37th National Games held at the Peddem Indoor Stadium, 52-year-old Bhaskar Balachandra from Karnataka struck gold in Men’s Billiards 100up format, defeating Rohan Jambusaria from Maharashtra with a 3-1 scoreline. Bhaskar, who manages a family business of silk sarees alongside his billiards career, demonstrated his mastery in the sport.
Billiards and Snooker marked its competitive debut at the National Games, having been a demonstration sport only in 1997 in Bengaluru. Back then, Bhaskar clinched the bronze medal, while Ashok Shandilya and Geet Sethi secured gold and silver, respectively.
Bhaskar attributes his sustained success in the game to his unwavering commitment to fitness. He emphasized, “During the zenith of my sporting career, I ran 5-6 kilometers daily, followed by a rigorous 3-hour solo practice session. Afterward, I devoted a couple of hours to sparring with practice partners. Running, yoga, and consistent practice are essential to maintain freshness throughout the day.”
Given the tightly packed schedules in Billiards and Snooker, involving 10-12 hours of play in a single day, sharpness and endurance are paramount as one advances through the competitions.
Presently, Bhaskar cannot allocate the same amount of time to the sport due to his business responsibilities. However, he still dedicates nearly three hours daily to training and practice, emphasizing the significance of physical fitness.
“While I’ve invested considerable effort to win a National Games medal, I’ve never regarded myself as a full-time professional player because I must balance work and my game,” he remarked, expressing contentment over the growing interest of young children in the sport.
The sport of Snooker and Billiards has witnessed a surge in popularity at local clubs in tier 1 and tier 2 cities across the nation. Bhaskar highlighted the positive trend of these clubs making the sport more accessible to all, which he believes will contribute to the emergence of professional players at the elite level.
Although Public Sector companies began recruiting cue sports players in 2003, Bhaskar stressed that more efforts are required. Only a small percentage, 5-10%, of players secure jobs and play professionally, underscoring the need for greater support from the government and all stakeholders to foster the growth of Billiards and Snooker as viable career options.