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Chembur's Aditya Mehta rich in performance, poor in rewards

Chembur lad becomes first Indian to record maximum professional break of 147 in snooker, but rues lack of government support to cueists in the country

India's ace cueist Aditya Mehta shot himself into the history books as he potted the black one final time in the third frame of his Round-of-32 clash against Scotland’s Stephen Maguire in the Paul Hunter Classic snooker tournament at the Stadthalle Centre in Furth, Germany on Saturday.

India's ace cueist Aditya Mehta
Aditya Mehta has been grinding it out on the snooker circuit using his own resources

World No 49 Mehta became the first Indian (and only the 106th player worldwide) to score a maximum break of 147 in a professional tournament as he potted 15 reds (15 points), 15 blacks (105 pts) and the remaining coloured balls in sequence (27 pts).

He unfortunately lost the match 2-4 as Maguire went on to win the next two frames, but the high of a professional maximum is the ultimate achievement for the 28-year-old from Chembur, Mumbai who has been on the professional tour for five years now.

“I’ve done the maximum in practice and at a local tournament in India but achieving the maximum on the Pro Tour is a dream come true. It is probably my biggest feat till date because while you can plan and strategise before entering any tournament, a maximum is something that can never be planned. It just happens,” Mehta told mid-day from Furth yesterday.

Obviously Mehta didn’t have time to celebrate his record because he lost the next two frames but just getting there, he felt, was a culmination of over a decade of hard work, sweat and even blood.

Poor treatment
He is unhappy with the Indian government’s ignorance of the same. “It’s unfortunate that I’ve injured my shoulder and neck in the process and it’s always lonely out there on the Pro tour. But I feel more disappointed at how India’s professional sportsmen are treated back home.

“In the last five years, while I have been grinding it out on the Pro Tour all on my own, I have not received a single rupee from either the government or any corporate sponsor. It’s the stonecold truth that the government does not seem interested in us professional cueists.

“But on the other hand, the Indian government does fully fund our badminton players when they travel abroad. So why ignore other sportsmen,” asked Mehta. He is also the only Indian to have made it to the final of a ranking event, when he lost in last year’s Indian Open, besides having pocketed the gold medal at the prestigious World Games in Cali the same year.

The Indian Open (Oct 13-17) is up next on the 28-year-old’s agenda. “I play the qualifier in two weeks in Barnsley. I should hopefully make it to the Indian Open which, for the first time, is going to be played in my hometown, Mumbai. I can't wait to experience playing in front of my home crowd and God-willing doing well there,” Mehta signed off.

Aditya on a high
. Became first Indian to reach the final of a ranking tournament at his home event — the Indian Open in 2013

. Was the first Indian to play on Main Tour since Yasin Merchant did in the 1990s

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