Hit by polio at the age of two, lost vision in the right eye at six, underwent a heart surgery in 2011... Aren’t these reasons enough for someone to feel absolutely hopeless? Not if you are Venkateswaran Subramanian.
The 41-year-old from Dadar has been playing billiards since 1990. “I’ve never experienced what it is to play with both eyes, so it is impossible for me to explain how difficult it is,” he says.
Fate struck him another blow in 2011, when he had to undergo a bypass surgery. Did he think his career was over? “Not at all. I lost around 20 kg. I felt younger and fitter.”
And it showed.
Subramanian finished second from the state, and eighth overall, in the national billiards selections last year. He qualified for the World Billiards Championship in England, where he lost to compatriot Pankaj Advani in the pre-quarterfinals. “I can play for another 20 years. My aim is to be among the top four players in the country, and I know I can do it despite my limitations,” says Subramanian.
His personal life isn’t rosy at all. “My parents are no more and I’m unmarried. I take tuitions at home when I’m not playing. When I went to England, the association gave me Rs25,000, and a businessman from Pune sponsored my tickets,” he said.
He has been writing letters to various companies seeking a job under the sports category. He also wrote to the sports ministry for the same, but to no avail.