Prize money from carrom triumph, a Godsend for Farooquee

19 February,2024 12:48 PM IST |  Mumbai  |  SUNDARII IYER

Jobless Bhiwandi-based player wins R1.5 lakh for emerging triumphant in Maharashtra Open Carrom Challenger’s Trophy

Maharashtra Open Carrom Challenger’s Trophy winner Zaid Ahmed Farooquee

Carrom is a pastime for some, a sport for others employed by corporates. But for Zaid Ahmed Farooquee, it is his only source of income.

Farooquee won the Maharashtra Open Carrom Challenger's Trophy 2023-2024 at the Bharat Scouts & Guides Hall, Shivaji Park, last Friday. The Maharashtra Carrom Association (MCA)-organised and LIC-sponsored tournament carried a total prize money of Rs seven lakh.

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In the final, Farooquee defeated former national champion Zaheer Pasha 2-0 to win R1.5 lakh in prize money. In the semi-finals, Farooquee beat former world champion Prashant More 22-4, 10-7. When asked about his toughest match in the tournament, Farooquee pointed to his pre-quarter-final 9-13, 17-9, 19-13 win over Ganesh Taware. "While all the matches were tough, I was about to lose to Taware. I won because he missed out on timing. That was the turning point in the tournament for me. But winning this tournament is big for me; a dream," Farooquee told

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Farooquee, a former India No.6, stressed how carrom is his life and that he doesn't know anything else that can earn him money. The prize money he gets playing tournaments is what helps contribute to his family expenses. "I started playing carrom in 2000 and have been hooked since. I quit school as I was mad about the sport. My late father Shakeel Ahmed [passed away in 2014] and mother Shabana kept telling me to complete my education, but I dropped out in Class VII. When my dad was alive, I would help him in his [clothing] business. Once he passed away, the business shut and I am jobless since. I run my house from whatever I earn from playing tournaments. From 2018 till 2020, I would get a sports scholarship of R 13,000 every month. But that stopped when COVID struck. I am able to survive since I stay in a joint family. My younger brothers Saif, Sufiyaan and Faizan are drivers. Whatever they earn, they contribute to the family. Else, I wouldn't have been able to take care of my mother, wife Ruksar and my four kids," revealed Farooquee.

The prize money earned from the Maharashtra Open couldn't have come at a better time. "It's a real struggle to have a steady income. Since I am not educated, I can't get a job. I hope to get one through sports quota. I am ready to take up any job," he signed off.

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