India's Keerthana Pandian wins World Under-16 snooker title

Sajith B Warrier

Bengaluru, October 8: India's Keerthana Pandian beat Belarus' Albina Leschuk 3-1 to clinch the International Billiards and Snooker Federation's (IBSF) World Under-16 Snooker title at Saint Petersburg, Russia.

After qualifying for knockout stage as seed 4, Keerthana, who trains at the Karnataka State Billiards Association (KSBA) under C Ravi, knocked out her compatriot Manasvini Sekar and Russian girl Alina Khairulina in straight frames (3-0) before meeting the defending champion and her compatriot Anupama Ramachandran in semifinals.

Though the Bengaluru-based girl lost the first frame, Keerthana rallied quickly and played flawlessly to win next three frames and defeated her 3-1.

It was a sweet revenge for Keerthana, who had lost to Anupama in the last year's final at the same venue.

Similarly, in the final, Keerthana went down after winning the first frame but on score of 1-1, she geared up and played with full control to win next two frames to clinch the title, which was her first at the IBSF level.

The corresponding honour in the men's section went to Belgium's Ben Martens, who beat tournament favourite Aaron Hill of Ireland 4-3 in a thriller.

India's Digvijay Kadian settled for bronze. The Haryana-based cueist lost to Hill in the semifinal.

Martens topped his Group J without dropping a single frame and qualified for knockout stage as 5th seed to start with Last-32 stage.

Even in knockouts he sailed smoothly till quarterfinals and before stepping in finals, he faced bit resistance from Kirill Margolin of Belarus. He was down 1-2 at one stage, but Martens shown his mettle and posted two clearance breaks of 75 and 94 back to back and won the match 4-2.

Final was tough and Hill had taken all control to lead 3-1. Even in that situation, Martens was determined and he held his nerve much better in fourth frame to make a strong comeback followed by two match winning breaks of 74 and 53 in next two frames and defeated Aaron 4-3.

(With inputs from IBSF media and other Agencies)

Also Read:

India settle for silver in Asian Team Snooker Championship

India in semis of Asian Team Snooker Championship, assured of a medal

Advani-Chandra help India pip Pakistan to lift the inaugural Snooker Team World Cup