26th US National Carrom Championship brings 130 players from around North America

Winners of the 26th US Carrom National Championships 2022 held in California June 3-5, rUNNER-UP Preeti Jakhotia from U.S. and Winner Louis Fernandes of Canada, pose with their trophies. Photo: Creations By Sam

The United States Carrom Association (USCA) and Bay Area Carrom Association (BACA) jointly conducted the XXVI US Nationals Carrom Championship from June 3rd – 5th in Santa Clara, California. The tournament was held at the Santa Clara Convention Center, a premier venue in silicon valley, which fielded over a hundred players from across North America. LOUIS FERNANDES of Canada lifted the title for the third time in a row, prevailing over runner up PREETI JAKHOTIA of USA in a closely contested Finals with a score of 18-23, 24-10, 25-10. Sandeep Dusa of New Jersey bagged the 3rd place. In a big upset, Kalyan Matcha of Texas knocked out 11-time champion Saravanan Chandrababu from Ohio in the pre-quarterfinals. Louis also won the Doubles trophy along with fellow Canadian Moaz Shaikh, while Murali Balasubramanyam and Kalyan Matcha, both from Texas, finished as runners up. Panna Chowdhury of California scored a black slam (the only slam of the tournament) on his way to clinching the title in the Challengers division.

The opening and closing ceremonies of the 2022 Carrom Championships held June 3-5, 2022, in California were attended by several dignitaries including Consul General of India for San Francisco, Dr. T V Nagendra Prasad. Photo: Creations By Sam
Carrom 101 coaching session. Photo: provided by organizers

The tournament saw unprecedented levels of participation with over 130 players on the roster, including 67 local players from California and double digit number of women players. This bodes well for realizing USCA’s vision of tripling the number of players in the US within the next three years. For the first time in US carrom history, a female player made it to the Grand Finale in this traditionally male-dominated sport. Preeti’s accomplishment is sure to inspire women players everywhere, and put USA on sound footing to field a strong women’s team in future world cups.

Doubles Round Robin in action. Photo: Creations by Sam, via organizers

The grand gala was also marked by another historical first in improving spectatorship for carrom tournaments. All matches from Championship Sunday (Doubles Finals, Singles Semifinals & Singles Finals) were broadcasted LIVE on Willow TV, complete with player uniforms, professional video production and live commentary. Thousands of viewers from around the world caught the action from the comfort of their couch, for FREE! This is a great step towards realizing USCA’s goal of elevating carrom into the world of mainstream sports. Over $8000 were awarded in prize money with cash prizes for all categories. Trophies and prize monies for the Championship division were awarded by top tier sponsors. Winners of USCA’s Online tournaments were also felicitated on the stage with medals.

The event was presided over by several dignitaries. Key highlights include the tournament being kicked off with a ceremonial break by the Mayor of Santa Clara Ms Lisa Gillmor, motivational speech by Crossfit athlete & trainer Brad Madeiros, special guest appearance by Bollywood star Ms Ashvini Bhave, an energetic Dhol performance by Baydhund, live video chat with 3-time world champion Yogesh Pardeshi, and toss for the Grand Finale by Consul General of India for San Francisco, Hon. Dr. T V Nagendra Prasad. The tournament was generously supported by several sponsors such as Willow TV, Sanjiv Gupta CPA, New York Life, Sling TV, Gilbert Real Estate Group, Keller Williams, Compass Realty, and individual donors, many of whom sent representatives to attend the event in person. The list of partners included Willow TV, Bolly 92.3FM, ITV Gold, Parikh World Media, TV Asia, and Association of Indo Americans (AIA). Official photography for the event was provided pro bono by Creations by Sam, and food for participants was provided by Bawarchi and Urban Grill.

On the eve of the tournament, a special coaching session for beginners called “Carrom 101” was offered FREE of cost, and was conducted by Sam Mallisetti and Bala Parthasarathy. ABout 50 kids of various ages participated in the event, all of whom received carrom related souvenirs such as tournament grade strikers and selfies & autographs from top players. The occasion generated a lot of interest among kids and parents alike, and even saw foot traffic from curious attendees of the AR/VR conference happening next door at the convention center. The Mayor of Santa Clara has reached out to USCA & BACA to explore initiating a youth carrom program in the city.

A family at home watching the Finals live on Willow TV. Photo: organizers of Carrom Championships 2022

The US Nationals is one of two major carrom tournaments conducted on US soil every year, the other being US Open. United States Carrom Association (USCA) and its regional chapters such as Bay Area Carrom Association (BACA) are registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations that are run by volunteers, and are generously supported by patrons who are passionate about promoting the game of carrom. Visit http://www.uscarrom.org to learn more.



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