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Aditya Mehta The Star of Indian Snooker

Aditya, in Hindi is used in the singular to mean the Sun. Born on 31st October’1985 in Maharashtra, India; he started his professional career by playing Challenge Tour in 2004, at the time the second-level professional tour at the young age of nineteen. At present he is the lone Indian player to play professional snooker tour and he practises with Alfie Burden and Anthony Hamilton in London. 

Aditya was coached by Mr. Sanjay Sawant in junior days and Mr. P J Nolan afterwards till 2015. Aditya Mehta in 2015 teamed up with Leicester-based Mukesh Parmar, who was for many years manager of the current world No. 1 from England, Mark Selby. Parmar runs the Winchester Snooker Club and has shaped the careers of talented snooker players.

Aditya was first nominated for a Main Tour place for the 2008/2009 season. He was the first Indian to play on Main Tour since Yasin Merchant did in the 1990s.

Aditya won a Silver and a Bronze medal in Men's Snooker Team and Men's Snooker Singles respectively, at the 2010 Asian Games held in Guangzhou, China. In April’2012, Mehta won the Asian Snooker Championship with a 7–5 victory over compatriot Pankaj Advani.

Mehta reached the main stage of a ranking event for the first time in his career in August’ 2013, by qualifying for the International Championship. He overcame Michael Leslie and Mike Dunn, both by 6–3 scorelines, and then came back from 3–5 down to beat Jimmy White for the second time this season. In the last round he gained revenge over Jamie Cope following his loss at the same stage in the Wuxi Classic, by triumphing 6–4 to seal his place at the event in Chengdu, China, in October. There he defeated Zhu Yinghui in the wildcard round, before winning 6–4 against Stuart Bingham, who had already won two titles earlier in the season, to set up a last 16 meeting with world number two Judd Trump. In his first televised match in a major ranking tournament Mehta was outclassed by his opponent as he lost 0–6. However, his run in the tournament matched the best performance by an Indian player in a ranking event set by Yasin Merchant over two decades earlier.

 

In July 2013, Mehta won the World Games by beating Liang Wenbo 3–0 in the final to become the first Indian to win the gold medal.

The 2013/2014 season saw the introduction of a ranking event held in India for the first time. Mehta qualified for it by seeing off Xiao Guodong 4–2. In the first round of the event held in New Delhi he made a break of 127 in the deciding frame against Peter Ebdon to win 4–3 and then beat Hammad Miah 4–1 to reach the last 16 of a ranking event for the second time in his career. Mehta defeated two-time world champion Mark Williams 4–2 to face compatriot Pankaj Advani in the quarter-finals in an iconic match in Indian snooker as the winner would be the first semi-finalist of a ranking event in the country's history. In a match heavily bound in tactical play it was Mehta who triumphed with a 4–3 win. His remarkable run continued as he held his nerve from 3–0 up against Stephen Maguire to edge through 4–3 and reach the final. His tournament came to an abrupt end, however, as he lost 5–0 to Ding Junhui but he did earn a cheque of £25,000 as the tournament's runner-up. In the process Mehta became the first Indian to reach the final of a ranking tournament at his home event, the Indian Open.

A month later he was beaten in the quarter-finals of the minor-ranking Antwerp Open 4–0 by Jack Lisowski and finished 29th on the Order of Merit, just outside the top 25 who reached the Finals. He finished his all time high World ranking of 49 at the end of season 2013/2014.

In the 2014 Paul Hunter Classic, Mehta made his first ever Maximum break in professional competition. On 22.08.2014 he compiled a magnificent maximum break against Scotland’s Stephen Maguire to record his name in the elusive list.

In the year 2015 before the UK Championship Aditya stated that a neck injury sustained in June 2014 had been affecting his practice hours and confidence in his game. He had also changed his stance to the more conventional one of keeping the right leg straight instead of bending both legs, which he had used for the previous eight years. Mehta defeated Sam Baird 6–5 at the UK, before losing 6–2 to Neil Robertson in the second round. He resigned from the tour in February 2016 in order to recover from his neck injury.

Aditya Mehta has qualified for a two-year tour card due to finishing 53rd on the European Order of Merit in 2016/2017 and RKG Snooker proudly sponsoring him for two years to play in the professional tour.

In current season Aditya started slowly but gained momentum and qualified for main event of International Championship beating Jack Lisowski by 6-4. In the first round of main event in China he comprehensively beats Ryan Day (World number 23) by 6-3. In second round match against 11th ranked Joe Perry, Aditya fought hard but lost the match by 6-3.

The performance in current International Championship will push his ranking up by atleast 25 ranking to around 100 in the World Ranking List.

It is said, “Don’t do different things, do things differently” This is because, success comes to those who act brilliantly!!! 

 

Written By : Ravindra Kumar Gupta

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