Carrom player excels in her maiden senior international event | punjab$sports | Hindustan Times
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Carrom player excels in her maiden senior international event

It was perhaps the best possible birthday gift Tuba Sehar could ever imagine. And the fact that the gift came her way 20 days before her actual birthday made it more memorable. Her sister and cousins were there too, to soak up the moment

punjab Updated: Oct 27, 2015 13:53 IST
Tashi Lundup
The stage was set more than 200 kilometre away from Tuba’s home in Chandigarh and the event was her maiden senior appearance at 7th International Federation Cup carrom tournament in New Delhi.
The stage was set more than 200 kilometre away from Tuba’s home in Chandigarh and the event was her maiden senior appearance at 7th International Federation Cup carrom tournament in New Delhi. (Keshav Singh/HT photo)

It was perhaps the best possible birthday gift Tuba Sehar could ever imagine. And the fact that the gift came her way 20 days before her actual birthday made it more memorable. Her sister and cousins were there too, to soak up the moment.

The stage was set more than 200 kilometre away from Tuba’s home in Chandigarh and the event was her maiden senior appearance at 7th International Federation Cup carrom tournament in New Delhi.

Even though she was anxious, Tuba did not let the pre-competition anxiety affect her game. By the end of the tournament, she not only walked away with the women doubles and team gold, but also made an immediate impact in the women singles also, where she clinched the silver medal.

“It was the best birthday gift for me. It felt great to help India win team and doubles gold, while the silver was a personal achievement which I will cherish for a long time. Having said that, what made the moment special was that my sister and cousins were there to celebrate the moment with me. I had told dad in advance not to come for the tournament as his presence makes me nervous,” crackled Tuba, who will turn 16 on October 28.

While Tuba is still trying to let that moment of glory sink in, she wasn’t sure her name would be included in the list when the Indian team was announced last month.

Even though her repertoire boasted of representing India at the junior level in the India-Sri Lanka under-19 carrom Test series in 2013, the news of her maiden selection in the Indian team was a moment worth celebrating before her focus shifted on prepartions.

Left with less than three weeks for the event, it was a challenge for her to stand up to the moment and face some of the best players.

While her elder sister Farheen and cousins helped her with pre-tournament preparations, Tuba also warmed up for the mega event by winning the junior and senior titles in the local tournament.

“I didn’t want to go to the tournament just for the sake of participation; I wanted to come back with medals. I was confident of doing well in the championship. Hours of practice with my father, sister and cousins helped me a lot when the moment finally came,” added the class 10th student of St Stephen’s School, Sector 45.

When the D-Day came, Tuba was oozing confidence. It didn’t bother her that she was the one with the least experience in the Indian team.

With her partner, Rashmi Kumari, Tuba produced some stellar performances and defeated Josef Roshita and Chalani of Sri Lanka in the women doubles final to clinch gold.

En route to the final, the Indian pair defeated Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka.

Her dreams of making it a hat-trick of gold came undone when she lost to her doubles partner Kajal Kumar in the singles final.

“Gold in the singles would have been icing on the cake. But I am still satisfied with my results in my maiden senior international outing,” added Tuba, who has been awarded scholarship by ONGC.

Tuba’s next goal is to represent India in the carrom world cup to be held next year. She already has seven points out of the mandatory 12 needed to appear in the national selection trials.

With plenty of points on offer in the senior nationals in December, Tuba, after recovering from fever that kept her out of touch with the game for more than a week, is all looking forward to take part in the event.