The ‘Raja’ Who Overcame Disabilities to Become a Billiards Champion: Venkateswaran Subramanian


Venkateswaran Subramanian popularly called as Raja battled with polio and a single eye in his childhood and became one of the world’s best billiards and snooker players.

He was hit by polio in his left leg at the age of 2 and lost his vision in the right eye in a freakish accident at the age of 6. For him, it was like start your life with one leg and one eye. He also underwent a heart bypass surgery at the age of 39. Are these not enough to lose hopes in your life, not really if you are Venkateswaran Subramanian.

When he was a young boy, he was quite accident prone and met with minor accidents and underwent surgeries during his schooling days. Sports played a major role in transforming his life. From being an introvert and an average student at studies slowly turned out into a strong outgoing student as a teenager. His grandfather introduced him to badminton and table tennis at the Matunga Gymkhana. He slowly progressed and for the first time catches the headlines as he defeated 3 seeded players at an inter-school event at the age of 13.

In the beginning, he was never into billiards. After the sweaty table tennis sessions, he used to cool down himself in the billiards room that was adjacent. At 19, he was fascinated by the game and started playing billiards where he saw world champion Wilson James coaching many other players. A very good hand-eye coordination and balancing one’s self is very much required in the game of billiards and snookers. Raja made a conscious effort and showed tremendous determination with his single eye and single leg over the years and emerged as a true inspiration and true winner.

Raja became at par with world class players in the disability category as well as in the open category. Till now, he has won many medals and prizes in his life but the noted ones being the two successive gold medals in the World Disability Snooker Open organized by World Disability Billiards And Snooker in the UK in 2015 and 2016. He is ranked 16 worldwide by World Billiards. In a country where no proper basic facilities are provided for the disabled, Venkateswaran Subramanian is truly synonymous with the word inspiration