Asian snooker champion Aditya Mehta beat tournament favourite Liang Wenbo of China 3-0 to win the snooker gold at the World Games in Cali, Colombia, on Tuesday.
The triumph made Mehta, who defeated Thailand's Dechawat Poomjaeng 3-1 in the semi-finals, the first from India to be crowned a World Games champion.
This is also India's first medal since legendary shuttler Prakash Padukone's bronze in the inaugural World Games in 1981, and only the second for the country in the history of the Games.
"This is my career's best performance. I am delighted with this win.
"Fantastic day... A long awaited dream come true!!" an elated Mehta posted on Twitter.
Mehta was in command right through the final after registering a break of 84 in the opening frame. Another good break of 40 in the next was enough to earn him a 2-0 lead.
The Indian ace then dashed whatever hopes the Chinese may have entertained of a fightback with a massive break of 117 in the third game.
Prior to this achievement, Mehta's best performance in a rankings event was a last-16 slot in the China Open in Chengdu last year.
Poomjaeng, who defeated another Indian and eight-time World champion Pankaj Advani 3-1 in the quarter-finals, won the bronze medal after a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Brazil's Igor Figueiredo in the third place play-off match.
“Mehta has now finally proven beyond doubt that he is by far the most accomplished, talented and sincere snooker player that we have seen since Yasin Merchant, who played on the pro circuit,” said Salil Deshpande, joint-secretary of the Billiards and Snooker Association of Maharashtra.
The World Games, first held in 1981, is an international multi-sport event for sports or disciplines not contested in the Olympic Games.
“Earlier, whenever a professional snooker player came down to India or played against an Indian on the pro circuit, no one ever gave any chance to any of the Indians against the likes of Steven Hendry, Jimmy White or even the lesser-ranked pros then.
“But today Aditya can play any player on the pro circuit and win; that is what this dedicated player has achieved due to sheer determination and very supportive parents who have backed him all the way,” he added.
Image: Aditya Mehta