Oh, that pain in the neck!
World Snooker team event winner Aditya Mehta reveals fear of not returning to the sport due to persistent injury; hopes to play in the UK again
City cueist Aditya Mehta, 33, has made a comeback to the snooker table with a bang. On Wednesday, he won his first World title with Pankaj Advani at the IBSF World Snooker Team event in Mandalay, Myanmar. He was not exactly cock-a-hoop around this time last year. In fact, he was down on a low, wondering whether he could return to competitive sport while enduring a serious neck injury. He attributed the injury to the strain on his neck while participating in the World Snooker Tour for a decade in the United Kingdom.
"This [title] is actually a lot more special considering how difficult the last few years have been with the neck issue. I didn't play a shot for almost a full year in 2018, so this is a very, very special moment for me. There was a lot of fear [in me] last year — whether I would ever make it back to the highest level. This [triumph] has put those doubts to rest. I'm really looking forward to getting home and celebrating with my family. It means so much more to them because they are the reason I've made it so far," Mehta told mid-day yesterday.
Meanwhile, Mehta hailed partner Advani, saying without him this win would not have been possible. "It's an honour to have Pankaj as a partner. I think we make a great team and we always have each other's backs when we play together. I have to thank him for helping me win my first World title," added Mehta, who won two bronze and one silver at the 2006 Doha and 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games.
Pankaj Advani posted this picture with Aditya Mehta on Instagram yesterday
Even as his neck issue persists, Mehta hopes to take a break before preparing for the World Championships in Turkey next month. "It's [the injury] a constant battle and I can never really be completely fine. But I'm learning to manage it. I still have a long way to [reach] full fitness. I enjoyed my time away from the game after 10 years in the UK. I hope that one day I will be back there fully fit and competing. Until then, my focus is to be fit, healthy and win everything that I can. I hope this is the start of my second innings. Most importantly, I would like to thank my employers Indian Oil. I wouldn't be anywhere without their support," said Mehta.
The number of Asian Games medals Aditya Mehta has won
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Snooker champ Aditya Mehta: Pro Snooker is cut-throat but that's what I live for