” A GROWING number of Britons are playing carrom, sparking a revival of the ancient Indian board game.
The game’s governing body said more non-Asians are taking part after it organised tournaments in schools and youth groups.
Carrom involves flicking circular pieces into pockets on a table using a heavier counter.
Around 50 million people worldwide play the indoor game, which is believed to have started in south Asia in the 18th century.
Amar Sanakal, from The UK Carrom Federation (UKCF), said some British Asians play to connect with their roots.
He told Eastern Eye: “We have many more non-registered players today than a few years ago.
“Our presence on social media certainly helps in making people aware of the opportunities to play.
“The UKCF has been actively engaged in organising carrom events for schools across different councils as well as local youth groups.
“While quite a few people with an Asian heritage already knew about the game and were only looking for avenues where they could get a chance to play the game, we’ve also had quite a few non-Asian British players interested in the game.”
Tournaments began in Britain in the mid-1990s according to online store CarromShop UK, which had a stall at the recent Alchemy music festival in London.
It sells about 25 per cent of game boards to Asians whereas in the US about 95 per cent are bought by Asians.
A spokesman for the store said: “Fun carrom is increasing quite rapidly and ‘serious carrom’ is increasing slowly.
“So many Asian families in the UK have a board in the attic so we sell them the accessories so they start playing again.
“I meet so many Asians who are shocked when they see the boards out because they all used to play it as children.”
Rakin Choudhury is president of Carrom Society at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, which runs weekly sessions and competes in tournaments against other universities.
The British Bangladeshi said he got into the game as a youngster.
He said: “We have always had a carrom board in our house so I have grown up with it.
“I mostly started played in a neighbour’s house who lived in a flat downstairs from us.
“It was mostly doubles but I still remember some singles matches and some of the better shots we played like rebounds and ones where the coins would roll into opposite pockets.
“Every one of our families would have different sets of rules though, you’d get into an argument faster than if you were playing Monopoly.”