USA Carrom team makes history in Malaysia

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Team USA at the 8th Carrom World Championship tournament in Malaysia Oct. 3-7, 2022. Photo: courtesy US Carrom Association.

The 8th Carrom World Championship was recently held at Langkawi, Malaysia, from October 3-7, 2022. The United States fielded a team of 12 players, comprising 8 men and 4 women selected based on merit by the United States Carrom Association (USCA), to compete in this elite tournament that happens once every 4 years. Team USA put on a fantastic performance and created history, by having a podium finish in an international carrom tournament for the first time ever! Sandeep Dive and Rashmi Kumari, both of India, won the titles of World Champion in the mens and womens divisions respectively.

World Champions Rashmi Kumari (L) and Sandeep Dive (R) at 8th World Carrom Championship tournament Oct. 3-7, 2022, in Malaysia. Photo: USCA
US Women’s Team; L-R: Puja Rathi, Tejasvi Duduka, Preeti Jakhotia, Uma Munagala at 8th World Carrom Championship tournament Oct. 3-7, 2022, in Malaysia. Photo: USCA

Eighteen countries sent their very best players with Singapore and UAE fielding teams for the first time. The week-long event was organized by the Malaysian Carrom Association (KAROMAS), under the aegis of the International Carrom Federation (ICF). De Baron Resort on the tropical island of Langkawi, was the venue for the event.

Preeti Jakhotia (R) in action against World Champion Rashmi Kumari (L) at 8th World Carrom Championship tournament Oct. 3-7, 2022, in Malaysia. Photo: USCA

Perennial favorites India bagged the gold medal in all categories, but the talk of the town was the U.S. women’s team, which “achieved the impossible and won the silver medal in the coveted team event!” a press release from USCA said. It triumphed over national teams of Sri Lanka and Maldives, both of which included legendary players on the roster. The history-making American squad comprised of Preeti Jakhotia of California, Tejasvi Duduka of New Jersey, Uma Munagala of Ohio, and Puja Rathi of California.

Captain of Team USA Shibu Jose sharing the stage with other slammers of the tournament at 8th World Carrom Championship tournament Oct. 3-7, 2022, in Malaysia. Photo: USCA
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Jakhotia finished as women’s world No. 5 – the highest international ranking ever achieved by a US player.

Compatriot Uma Munagala also posted her personal best rank, by finishing as women’s world no.16. Tejasvi Duduka played a key role the historical win against Sri Lanka in the semifinals of the team event. First-timer Puja Rathi played an impressive game holding her own against the big guns.

USCA presenting plaque of appreciation to Malaysian Carrom Association; L-R: Mr. Murali Balasubramanyam of USA (Assistant General Secretary, International Carrom Federation), Mr. Bala Parthasarathy of USA (President, United States Carrom Association), Mr. Somohan Kasim of Malaysia (President, Malaysian Carrom Association), Mr. VD Narayan of India (General Secretary, International Carrom Federation) at 8th World Carrom Championship tournament Oct. 3-7, 2022, in Malaysia. Photo: USCA

On the men’s side Team USA was impressive, comprising: Ajay Arora of Pennsylvania (US rank No. 1), Shibu Jose of Texas (US Team Captain), Parag Pandit of Virginia, and Bala Parthasarathy of California (President of United States Carrom Association). In addition, the roster included four other players to compete in the Swiss League event – Panna Chowdhury of California (US Team Coach & Media Manager), Madhu Kalya of California, Jayaprakash Jayaraj of California, and Murali Balasubramanyam of Texas (US Team Manager & Assistant General Secretary of ICF).

In the team event, USA finished in 5th place – another historical best for U.S. at an international event. The American team defeated higher seeded teams such as France, Qatar, and Singapore, but succumbed to defending champions Sri Lanka.

In the individual events, Captain Shibu Jose had the best performance of the lot, finishing at 16th place in the Swiss League, winning 6 out of the 8 rounds of the league, besting several top players en route. He also scored two slams during the tournament – the only US player to join the exalted circle of slammers at this world championship which saw an unprecedented number of slams – a whopping 86! The rest of the team had impressive performances showing the U.S. team as a force to be reckoned with.

Equipment manufacturer Synco supplied specially made “Limited Edition” carrom boards for the tournament. An experimental “digital” scoring system was introduced by ICF during the Swiss League event, signaling a promising shift towards embracing technology and modernizing the sport. ICF and USCA livestreamed many of the games on their social media channels, USCA said in its press release.

COMPLETE RESULTS

Women’s Doubles

Winners: Rashmi Kumari & Neelam Ghodake (India)

Runners up: Kajal Kumari & Debajani Tamuly (India)

3rd Place: Aminath Vidaad & Aishat Fainaz (Maldives)

Men’s Doubles

Winners: Prashant More & Abdul Rahman (India)

Runners up: K Srinivas & Sandeep Dive (India)

3rd Place: Nishanta Fernando & Shaheed Hilmy (Sri Lanka)

Women’s Team Event

Winners: India

Runners up: USA

3rd Place: Sri Lanka

Men’s Team Event

Winners: India

Runners up: Sri Lanka

3rd Place: Maldives

Swiss League Event

Winners: Mohammad Ghufran (India)

Runner up: Sufiyan Chicktey (UAE)

3rd Place: Shaheed Hilmy (Sri Lanka)

Women’s Singles

Winner: Rashmi Kumari (India)

Runner up: Kajal Kumari (India)

3rd Place: Neelam Ghodake (India)

Men’s Singles

Winner: Sandeep Dive (India)

Runner up: Abdul Rahman (India)

3rd Place: K Srinivas (India)

Slam stats

Total slams: 86 (59 white + 27 black)

No. of slammers: 30

Top slammer: Nishanta Fernando / Sri Lanka (11)

Top US slammer: Shibu Jose (2)

Other stats

No. of participating countries: 18

No. of men’s teams: 16

No. of women’s teams: 10

No. of players for Swiss League: 130

No. of US players in the top 30 of Swiss League: 3

(Shibu Jose 16, Ajay Arora 23, Parag Pandit 26)

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