Asian Games gold medallist Yasin Merchant writes on his recent retirement from snooker
When I walked into the arena to play my match (Round of 32) in the recent World Snooker Champion-ship, little did I realise that this would be the last walk that I would take towards an international match. The contest reached intense proportions as my opponent (Australia's Steve Mifsud) and I were not willing to concede an inch, and played our hearts out.
India's Yasin Merchant during the snooker competition of the Guangzhou Asian Games in China last year. Pic/AFP
I could actually feel the adrenaline oozing out of my ears, nose and skin, as I fought back to level scores and braced myself for the deciding frame. From the very first shot, my opponent, rediscovering the elixir of resurgence, steadied himself, and with measured composure gradually took the frame and match away. My face showed little emotion as I left the venue, but once I entered my room, the volcano of emotions erupted and I cried inconsolably till the tears dried up.
That was the end of my love affair with competitive snooker, and I would now have to live life with an emptiness, that would eat away at my very existence. These are my sentiments right now, but I also realise that life has to move on, and we have to learn to let go. The old makes way for the new.
Letting go has not exactly been a walk in the park, but I shall now look at other avenues to explore within the game. My life-long dream of running a world-class academy, may see the light of day, since time would be an ally now. So many youngsters, and so much talent -- if not nurtured -- could be wasted.
Going forward, I will have to kill Yasin Merchant the cueist, and bring to life a mentor, a guide, and hope to carve out of younger talent, a new and improved Yasin Merchant. Snooker for me, was, is and shall remain a passion that will never fade away even as I tread into diverse territories, carrying beautiful memories along the way.
Roll of honour * National snooker champion (1991, 2000, 2001) * Asian Championship winner (1989, 2001) * 2002 Busan Asiad: Gold * 2006 Doha Asiad: Bronze * 2010 Guangzhou Asiad: Silver