JUST a few years ago he was shooting pool in a neighbourhood shop.
Now Port Elizabeth teenager Regan Elie is preparing to represent South Africa at the international blackball championships.
The Sanctor High School Grade 11 pupil was ranked as the top U18 at the South African blackball championships last year and has been raking in the awards since he first started playing nine years ago.
“I love the game, I have a passion for playing pool and since I was a youngster, I always dreamed about becoming a champion. And my dream is coming true,” an elated Elie said.
The 19-year-old, of Bloemendal, started playing in a neighbourhood shop across the road from his house.
His grandmother, Farieda Elie, with whom he and his brother Sergio, 20, live, said Regan had gained amazing confidence through the game.
“I am so very proud of him and am glad to see the positivity he tackles everything with,” she said.
The pool enthusiast plays for Cat’s Pool Club and the Blackball Devils.
Elie’s coach Romano Koen, 30, a former South African-ranked pool player, said he was a natural talent who never gave up.
“I first saw him playing in the pool hall across [from] his home and was immediately struck by his talent, but even more so his determination,” Koen, who is training youth in the area to keep them away from drugs and gangsterism, said.
Elie dreams of making pool his full-time career.
“I will be participating in the international test series in September and think it will be the beginning of big things,” he said.