Chennai, India (4E Sports) – Multi-titled cue artist Kamala Chandra Babu, who at one point in her career competed against men, has passed away Wednesday due to illness. She was 82.
Kamala’s last rites will be performed on Sunday. She was ailing for some time and was bed ridden due to dementia.
She won both her billiards national titles in 1991 and 1995 at age of 62 and 66 representing Tamil Nadu state. She last participated in the nationals in Hyderabad in 2007 at the age of 78.
Born on December 29, 1929 in Chittoor District, Kamala began acting at the age of 12, starting with stage shows and going on to star in 70-odd Tamil and Telugu films. She also sang for films and performed in numerous plays for All India Radio.
Her interest to pick up a cue started when then reigning snooker world champion Horace Lindrum visited Chennai at the invitation of the Andhra Maha Sabha in 1954.
Since then, she studied the game and hone her skills. When she was ready, she joined various open tournaments as the only woman player at that time, competing with men at Chennai, Vijayawada and Bangalore.
She had the unique opportunity of playing exhibition matches at Bangalore and Mysore with then world billiards champion Bob Marshall.
“I watched Kamala play during my late teens, when I was trying to get a foothold in the sport. She was inspirational not only for her game but also her attitude. At a time when male chauvinism was pronounced, she showed little regard for sexist barriers, which I found admirable,” says former national champion Arvind Savur. “She used to catch up with youngsters like me between practice sessions and encourage us to continue giving our best”.
I met Kamala during the 1999 state ranking championship, and was awed by her passion for the game at the age of 70. It was only after I met her that I resolved to take cue sports up as a profession. In spite of playing against each other for many years, she was less an opponent and more of a mentor,” said Vidya Pillai, currently the country’s top female snooker player.