Carrom is such a simple and straightforward sort of game that it’s impossible to think of a time and place when people didn’t play something like it. Little is known of its history and plenty can be conjectured. Some say the word derives from an Indonesian fruit, there is certainly a town called carrom in India and the similarity to “carambola” in biliards cannot be denied. Still, not much more can be supposed about carrom’s past that hasn’t already been supposed by somebody else on the internet so here are some straight facts about more recent carrom history.
India is the country with most carrom players and it is where carrom’s recent history begins:
In 1956 the first official carrom organization was founded, The All India Carrom Federation, with the first written rules. In the years that followed national federations and associations were formed in many Asian countries and inter-Asian championships were held throughout the 1960’s.
In the year 1970 the leadership of the All India Carrom Federation fell to Mr Bangaru B. Babu, of Chennai. He was the first person to have a truly global vision of carrom and to dedicate his time to promoting the game outside Asia. Thanks to his efforts in 1988 representatives of several countries from nearly all continents set up the International Carrom Federation and set down an International Standard for carrom.
Switzerland and Germany were amongst the first countries to respond with enthusiasm to Babu’s call. Throughout the eighties there were many international tournaments and test matches and the first inter- continental tournament took place in Zurich in 1985. The Asian Carrom Confederation was formed and SAARC Countries Championships began to be organized every year.
For nearly 10 years the President of the ICF was Martin Meier of Switzerland who together with Bangaru Babu tried his best to spread carrom further afield with the aim of finding a place for it amongst the Olympic Games. For many years UK’s Krishan Sharma also worked tirelessly to improve the status of the game involving both the Prince of Wales and the Houses of Parliament in his endeavours! It was during his presidency that the Eurocup and World Cups took their present form. Mr. Arif Naqvi of Germany, poet and philosopher took over after Krishan’s sudden demise and during his presidency many new countries joined the carrom fraternity. At present Josef Meyer of Switzerland is ICF president.
World Championships and World Cups have been held in India, Sri Lanka, France, UK and Maldives. While India usually bags most of the prizes in 2012 for the first time Sri Lankan Nishanta Fernando won the World Champion title and in 2016 the Sri Lankan team beat India in Birmingham.
Since 1997 Elisa Zucchiatti from Italy has been one of the vice presidents of ICF and active member of the European Carrom Confederation of which Italy is a founder member. The aim of ECC is assuring, among other things, that a European Cup be held every year in rotation among the member nations. In 1997 the first Eurocup was held in Luton, since then every Summer the Eurocup has been held successfully in many European capitals such as Berlin, Paris, Rome, Prague, as well as small towns all over Europe.
Italy has held 3 Eurocups: two in Mezzocorona and one in Rome. In 2017 we will be hosting our 4th Eurocup, the 21st edition.
At present the member nations of the International Carrom Federation are: Bangladesh; Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain; India; Italia; Japan , Korea, Malaysia; Maldives, Pakistan, Poland; Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka; Sweden, Switzerland and United States.
More info on the ICF at http://www.carromicf.com