Updated 23rd Sep 2015
Canadians had a field day at the US open carrom tournament concluded on Sunday the 20th of September 2015. Their ace Louis Fernandes finally had the monkey of his shoulder beating Saravanan Chandrababu in the finals. Although, it was Saravanan who contributed in Louis’ success by missing a simple home shot which would have captured his 8th title. This changed the tables and Louis came back roaring in the 3rd set and with some aggressive play won his first title. He was beaten by Saravanan in the final before. This is also Canada’s first singles crown, after Louis and Francis were beaten at the final hurdle before.
The third place went to Dr. Neeraj Sampathy who defeated another rising star of Canadian carrom Anurag Chanda in 2 games.
Of the 16 Canadian entries, 6 entered the last 16 (A group) and 3 qualified for the B group comprising of players ranked from 17th to 32nd after 7 rounds of play. Group A had Louis, Anurag, Shad Ahmed, Moaz Shaikh, Kamal Mussafar and Derrick Silveira qualifying, playing excellent carrom winning 5 games of the possible 7 they played. This is extremely commendable especially with the competition they faced. Elango Vellusamy, Manuel Coelho and Derek D’Souza qualified for group B. Mention about other Canadian players, Naeem Mohammed, Balachandran Dandapani, Dinesh Shetty, Wajahat Mohamed, Thomas Lawrence and Madhuker Kelker is in order as they put in a great effort, with most of them winning 4 of the 7 games. However, in form Francis, was rather unfortunate not to compete because of a severe dental emergency.
The tournament saw some rising stars in the Joshi brothers from California. Neel (18 Years) and Deep (14 Years) created a buzz defeating host of seasoned players and Deep was the only player to achieve a white slam. Rishabh Murali a 8 year old, also showed some glimpses and alerted the rest of USA carrom fraternity that this young budding talent will not be a pushover in years to come. A newcomer Amar Inakollu, from New Hampshire, who has to practice on his own as he does not have any players to play with, performed well and should be a strong competition in the future.
Louis completed a golden double by winning the doubles competition partnering with the formidable Sekhar Challa (USA), former winner of multiple doubles and singles titles defeating the youngsters Joshi brothers in the finals. The 3rd place was won by Shibu Jose (USA) and Moaz Shaikh (Canada) who beat Saravanan and Dr. Sivaram Gowdagere. Derrick Silveira and Balachandran Dandapani, a Canadian pair had a good tournament and finished 8th overall. Traditionally USCA would qualify 8 pairs in the knock-out stages, however, this time they opted to have 4 playing the semis directly.
Fabian Pereira (France) Josef Meyer (Switzerland) and Ish Kumar (UK) had a good tournament making it to Group A. Lorenco Hurlim (Switzerland), Amar Sanakal (UK) and Anhar Ali (UK) also played excellent carrom and qualified for Group B. Fabian wounding up being adjudged the best European player, Louis took away the best North American Title, Rishabh Murali the Best Young Player and Deepika Kalahasti the best Woman player with Umamaheswari Munagala finishing second.
USCA needs to be acknowledged for conducting an excellent tournament, with Suresh Mandova doing the spade work in organizing sponsors and thus making this tourney the most cash rich tournament in the world. Their Chief Jayadeva Suryadevara and his star studded team, did a tremendous job making sure all players were at home away from home.
Make sure to tune in to Carrom Canada website to watch some videos we have taken before the semis. It will certainly show you the talent we have in North America. Unfortunately we were unable to video tape the finals and the semis, but I am sure you will get the opportunity to watch those exciting matches via USCA channel. Currently, we don’t have the proper game scores to show, but will update them regularly as and when we get our hands on them.
Overall, USCA should get an overall 100% on their report card for a job well done. KUDOS USCA, we appreciate your hospitality.