India's Sourav Kothari overcame a stiff challenge from former World Billiards champion Praprut Chaitanasakun of Thailand to win the gold medal in the Asian Indoor Games on Monday. This is the first medal in cuesports in this year's competition. Displaying supreme grit and determination, Kothari won the match 3-1. He capitalised on a last minute error by Praprut, who needed just 20 points to win the frame. Coming from behind, the Indian braved the early jitters and pressure of the big final to win the first frame by 100-80 points.
Building on the good start, Kothari went all guns blazing into the second game, even as a visibly edgy Praprut gave the Indian an opportunity to make a dent.
Kothari never looked back, grabbing the opportunity with both hands to construct a fabulous unfinished break of 101 points to seal the second frame (101-0) and take a dominating 2-0 lead.
However, in the third game, Praprut rose to the occasion and Kothari seemed under pressure as he came close to the finishing line.
A regulation canon missed by Kothari handed a brilliant opportunity to Praprut, who steadily went on to construct a break of 57 points and managed to win the third game 101-29.
Kothari was caught off-guard and the pressure was back on him as Praprut yet again started building a break after both the players missed a couple of openings in the 4th game.
Sitting on 88 points, on a break of 73 and needing just 12 more to force a sudden death decider, Praprut gave an unexpected chance to Kothari and he took control of the table.
Faced with the daunting task of getting the remaining 89 points while Praprut sat just a few shots away from winning the game, Kothari showed uncanny resilience and calmness under intense pressure to construct a break of 89 points amidst a roaring crowd and sealed the frame 101-88.