Here is a brief profile and biography of Indian billiards player Wilson Jones. Read for information on Wilson Jones
Wilson Jones Profile
Wilson Lionel Garton Jones, generally known as Wilson Jones was an Indian Billiards Player, and was the first World Champion in any sport that India had produced. Not only excellent Player, he also served as a commendable Billiards player and polished a number of Indian Billiards Players into extra-ordinary performers at International level.
He was born on the 2nd of May 1922 at Pune, Maharashtra to an Anglo-Indian couple. He had developed love for the game of Billiards at a very early age when he used to watch his uncle play it in Pune. Jones received his education at the Bishop High School and St. Vincent’s High School, Pune. At the age of 17 years he joined the War Service in the year 1939. Afterwards, he served at the Mazagon Docks in Bombay (now Mumbai) as a Security Officer from the year 1947 to 1950. Further, he joined the ‘House of Vissanji’. Vissanji was himself a great Billiards passionate, and while working along with him Jones got a chance to play the game for the first time.
William learned the basics of the game very rapidly, and soon began outperforming the players who were much senior to him. He grabbed his first National title when he won the Amateur National Snooker Championship in the year 1948. He won the National Snooker title four times more, in the years 1952, 1954, 1958 and 1960 too. In the year 1950 he won his first National Billiards Championship title, when he defeated T.A. Selvaraj in the Final Match. The next year, he again beat Selvaraj in the Final Round to clinch the title twice in a row. In the year 1953, he outclassed Chandra Hirji in the Final Round and won the crown again. Chandra continued to be his archrival till the year 1958. Jones won the Amateur National Billiards Championship for 12 years during the year 1950 to 1966. Apart from it, Jones won the State Billiards Championship for 8 times and the State Snooker Championship for 6 times.
Wilson made his debut into the International Billiards Circuit in the year 1951 when he participated in the World Amateur Billiards Championship held at Calcutta (now Kolkata), but finished at the last spot in the tournament. The next year he went to London to participate in the same tournament, but still couldn’t make a mark for himself. Nevertheless, Jones returned to India with a Best Sportsman award that he earned at the tournament in London. In the year 1954 he played at World Amateur Billiards Championship held at Sydney, and finished at 4th place in the Round Robin matches.
Finally, the big day arrived for Wilson Jones on the 11th of December 1958, when he emerged as the winner in the World Amateur Billiards Championship held at Great Eastern Hotel, Calcutta. Wilson was the first ever Sportsperson of Independent India who had won the World Championship in any sport, which made his victory even more important for the nation. In the year 1959, he finished 3rd at the World Amateur Billiards Championship held in England, but he managed to score an excellent break of 598 at the tournament. He won the World Billiards title once again in the year 1964.
After playing a wonderful innings as a Billiards player, Wilson Jones turned a Billiards Coach and proved to one of the greatest mentors in the game. He nurtured the talents like Ashok Shandilya and Subhash Agrawal who went on to win the World Billiards titles in the coming future, and inspired a whole new breed of Billiards players to perform excellently at the International level.
Awards & Honors
To commemorate his extra-ordinary talent in the sport of Billiards and his consistent achievements in the game, the Government of India honored Wilson Jones with the Arjuna Award in the year 1962. Further, he was conferred upon the Padma Shri award in 1965, and the Dronacharya Award in the year 1996.