Cueist Yasin Merchant calls it a day

Bangalore: Yasin Merchant, the merchant of cue sports, hanged his boots on Thursday with a tinge of tears cascading from his eyes when he went down fighting 4-5 against Australia`s Steve Mifsud in an enthralling last match of his career in the IBSF World Snooker Championship here.

"It was an emotional moment for me to realise that I was playing my last match. I had a good cry in my room. I feel empty," Merchant told reporters just after the conclusion of the match.

Merchant`s defeat could easily be labelled as a fairytale ending to his career after he crafted a dazzling 127 break besides three half-century breaks as he fought back from 1-3 and 2-4 before petering out.

The 45-year-old cueist from Mumbai feels he still has it in him to play snooker, but realises he cannot devout much time to the sport as he wants to see his two children grow.

"I still feel I have a lot of snooker left in me, but I cannot spare any more time for the sport. My family and close friends agree my time is up as a player. So, I guess, there is no going back now," said Merchant who once attained No 65 in World rankings.

Two Asian titles winner, Merchant came out of the self-imposed break from the sport twice in 1989 and 2001.

It would be difficult for Merchant to live without the sport, but he has resolved to learn to live with a regret of quitting the sport.

"I have to learn to live with the regret of quitting the game. I would have sneaked into the top 16 when I was at my peak, but I am a family man. I wanted to see my two children grow up as they were born around the time I turned professional," he said.

It was a coincident that Merchant called it a day at the same venue - the Karnataka State Billiards and Snookers Association - where he shot to prominence as a junior cueist in mid-80s when he trounced the then top player B V Srinivasa Murthy 6-5 after trailing 0-5.

It was also at the KSBA back in 1991 that he outplayed another top professional Danny Fowler 5-2 on his way to the semi-finals in the Gold Flake Open.

"... I have happy memories of KSBA," a nostalgic Merchant said.

Merchant is hopeful of donning the mantle of a national coach which is pending an official confirmation from the Billiards and Snooker Federation of India (BSFI).

"I would be too happy to guide youngsters ... there is lot of talent in the country ... only thing they need proper coaching," said Merchant, who represented India and won medals at the 2002, 2006 and 2010 Asian Games.

PTI

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