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Himanshu Jain Q&A

Now playing in his second season on the World Snooker Tour, India’s Himanshu Jain describes his experience on the circuit so far as “inspiring” and hopes he can climb up the rankings over the coming months.

Rashi Aggrwwal caught up with Jain to find out more about his life on and off the table…

Himanshu, what initially got you started in snooker, and how did you become engaged with the sport on an International level?

At the age of 14, I began playing snooker and my passion for the sport developed as I enjoyed matches with my school friends. By 2008, I had achieved a notable feat by reaching the semi-finals of the under-18 National Snooker Championship. In 2012, I finished second in the junior category and fifth among the Seniors. Later in the year, I embarked on a journey to the UK, where I honed my skills at the Star Snooker Academy in preparation for international events.

You qualified for Tour in 2022 through Asia-Oceania Q School. How was your experience transitioning from amateur to professional?

It was an amazing experience. I played my first match against Mark Allen at the Championship League. The transition was very tough, challenging, and stressful but my unwavering passion for the sport kept me going.

You then moved to Sheffield, have you enjoyed living in the UK?  What do you miss most about India?

I had previously travelled to Sheffield and spent time there so I was comfortable with the environment and culture. To start with, being a family-oriented person, I was shuttling between India and the UK. But now in order to focus on snooker I have stayed in the UK for the last six months. The only thing I miss about India is my home!

How long are your average practice sessions? Do you play on your own or with others?

I go to the Ding Junhui Snooker Academy at noon and practise until evening without any breaks. I usually play an hour of solo, followed by frames, and end the session with best-of-seven and best-of-nine matches against opponents. I am trying to rectify my errors and refine my performance.

You have some great practice partners at the academy in Sheffield, has that helped you?

Yes I have learned so much more them. My main partners are Xiao Guodong and Noppon Saengkham who are both fantastic players. They have brought invaluable support and encouragement to my practice sessions.

How have you found your experience playing on the professional tour so far?

It has not been an easy journey but I believe in enjoying the whole process. The international tournaments demand perfection, precision and determination. If I have to sum up the whole experience in one word, it would undoubtedly be ‘inspiring!’

There is a second Indian player on the tour now as Ishpreet Singh Chadha has joined you. Do you spend time together?

Having shared a friendship spanning numerous years, we maintain a strong bond, and practise together occasionally. He is a very good player, a former national snooker champion and current six red snooker national champion. I am very happy that we have another Indian player on the tour as we often encourage each other to perform our best in tournaments.

What have been your best and worst moments as a player on the tour?

My best was beating Jimmy White in the Scottish Open qualifiers last year. My most challenging moment was when my UK visa for last season’s European Masters qualifiers didn’t arrive in time and I had to withdraw.

What are you targeting this season?

My main target is to win as many matches as possible. One ambition is to climb into the top 64 in the rankings and keep my tour card. 

Finally, if you could have a dinner party with any five sporting figures – alive or dead and from any sport – who would you choose?

From snooker, I’d pick Mark Selby, my all-time favourite, World Champion Luca Brecel, and former pro from India Aditya Mehta. Plus Indian cricketer Virat Kohli and tennis legend Novak Djokovic.