Interview: Carmelita Yumito – the queen of Sinuca

20:54:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

Carmelita Yumito
When we think of Brazil many of us will rather think of Samba or the Rio Carnival, than of snooker, but surprise!!! Snooker plays a big part in Brazilians` life, for here snooker has even developed a new way of being played – Sinuca.
Sinuca is Brazil’s way of saying “We love snooker!” and they truly do; so much, that they’ve invented a new way of playing snooker as their national tribute to this wonderful sport.

Today, I want to share with all of you the story of a genuine champion, a very passionate person and a very good Sinuca, but also snooker, player from Brazil. Her name is Carmelita Yumito and she’s my inspiration for today.

Born in 1970 in Tauá (the state city of Ceará, from North East of Brazil), Carmelita was raised in a modest family, being the youngest of nine brothers. Nowadays she is happily married, having a family of her own (two teenagers – Camila Toshie Yumito who’s 17 years old and Gabriel Kazuichi Yumito, who’s 16 years old) and although having a family is not an easy task, she still finds time for snooker and for winning one shiny trophy after another.

Always with a big smile on her face, Carmelita has find a way to balance her family life with her profession, that as we all know it’s a very demanding one. Tons of hours spent practicing new techniques and improving her skills, hundreds of kilometres on the road taking part in tournaments – that’s what’s going on when Carmelita is away from her beloved family.

1985 is a year that will stay forever in Carmelita’s heart for that was the year when everything started to fall into the right place and when she had her first encounter with Sinuca.

Remembering those moments with an enormous pleasure, Carmelita tells me: “In 1985 I moved to Guarulhos (the state city of São Paulo) and I got a job as a waitress at Hobby Time Snooker and Chopperia. It was love at first sight, that’s the moment when I felt in love with Sinuca!!! I started to take lessons about the rules and the techniques of the game and after a while a found myself taking part in un-official competitions.

To make everything clear, I just want to say that in Brazil “snooker” and “sinuca” have the same meaning, the thing that puts a difference being the fact that we say “English version” for snooker. This is actually a mix between adapting the official English version of snooker and the national version of the game.

My career started with me playing by the national rule of the game, because that was the rule allowed in the competitions, but it was not until 1997 when I’ve begun to play by the English rule at the first edition of the Santos Cup.

So I guess the confusion about what’s Sinuca is history now thanks to Carmelita, but I was curious to know what version of the game was more popular in Brazil and why.

Sinuca, my love
Sinuca is indeed more popular because it was created here and that’s why it is more known by the public and the players. On the other hand, the English version, although not very popular around here, has a great deal of admires in Brazil.”, said Carmelita who also stated that as far as she’s concerned: “I’m more pleased to play by the English version, because it’s much more technical and at the moment it is the official rule for the majority of the tournaments in Brazil.

Snooker Loopy: I have a special section for each interview that I make; it is called “It’s bragging time!!!” and here you can share with our readers all your achievements as a Sinuca/Snooker player (titles, breaks, competitions that you’ve won, anything you would like people to know about you as a player) :-)

Carmelita Yumito: “In 1996 I took part at the first Paulista Ladies Championship of Sinuca and I won it. That was my first title as an official champion.
After that I’ve worked real hard to improve my skills and that has resumed in other winnings like: being a nine-time champion of the Paulista Championship (1996, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010), winning the PENTA National Circuit Cup of Brazil, two-time champion of both IPÊ Cup and Guarulhos Cup, champion of the Volkswagen Cup, winning the 13th Miami Snooker Summer Sinuca Championship (we were 32 participants and I was the only female player) and the most important title of my career: being a four-time winner of the TETRA Brazilian Championship (2002, 2004, 2099 and 2010).

Right now, I’m ranked on the first place in the Brazilian Paulista rankings.

With this tremendous collection of titles one could think that Carmelita Yumito is excessively proud of her and thinks she is above everyone else, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Although she is very aware of her value as a snooker/sinuca player and takes every victory as a fully deserved one, she is a very modest person.
Actually I asked her if Igor Figueiredo is one of the best Brazilian players for snooker, she could be considered as the best Brazilian player of sinuca, and you know what she replayed?
I think I’m not the right person to answer that question, so maybe you should ask Igor. However, considering the amount of titles that I’ve won over the years, I could say I am.

Moving on to snooker in Brazil, we all know that Barry Hearn, the chairman of World Snooker has already set everything up for the first edition of the Brazilian Masters to take place this Autumn in São Paulo. As a visionary, Mr. Hearn saw the potential this country has as a snooker ramp and that’s one of the biggest chances that the very well trained snooker players will have to speculate in order to make their breakthrough.

Carmelita in action
Carmelita sees this as a very good opportunity both for the players and the sport itself. “The idea of having a competition as the Brazilian Masters is absolutely incredible and I’m very excited about it. Without any doubt it could mean a genuine chance for the Brazilian players to take part at international tournaments in the near future.

And to end out trip to Brazil but also to get to know a bit more about Carmelita’s dreams and expectation let’s go on with the “fast questions”.

Snooker Loopy: I’m sure you have your own favourite sinuca/snooker players; maybe some of them have even inspired you to choose this path in life. Please tell me which players do you admire and you’d like to play against some day?

Carmelita Yumito: “It`s a sure thing that I admire many, many players. Igor Figueiredo is one of them, more since he is a very close friend of mine, but also I admire Steve Davis and Ronnie O`Sullivan. They are the ones that I would very much like to meet personally. Also, I hope to be able to play with Alisson Fisher and Janet Lee one day.

Snooker Loopy: If you were to pick a moment in your career, the most important one, what would it be?

Carmelita Yumito: “I would definitely pick the last Brazilian Championship that was held in my hometown. Being there surrounded by my family and closest friends that have supported me throughout my career and were so proud to see me playing was just wonderful. I won my 2010 TETRA Brazilian Championship that time.

Snooker Loopy: Do you have future plans regarding your career with Sinuca?

Carmelita Yumito: “I just want to keep on practicing and dedicate my time to improve my sinuca game, to take part in as many tournaments as possible, to find a sponsor that could hep me participate in international competitions and to share my experience and train other people who want to make it as a professional player. Actually I held classes already in one of the best Sinuca clubs from Sao Paulo. Who knows, maybe I’m coaching the future champion?!"

At the moment I’m employed by Pompeia Snooker Bar to give lessons only for women, every Wednesday from 8:00-12:00pm just to encourage them and rise the number of female Sinuca players.

Snooker Loopy: What advice would you give to a youngster that wants to start playing classical snooker or sinuca?

Carmelita Yumito: “My advice to any youngster is to show the spot that same dedication and respect that I’ve had for Sinuca and to keep going no matter what; to keep on fighting, because Sinuca is sport and sport is life.

Coaching the girls
She couldn’t have said it any better: sport means life and her life is playing Sinuca. This is her dream and this is what she loves to do. As a female player in a sport that’s dominated by the males is not that easy, but still Carmelita carries on because she believes in herself and her ambition and talent are assets that can’t be bought.

For me, to talk with Carmelita was a lesson of life. Maybe she could start giving these types of lessons as well as Sinuca ones. :-)) My readers know that I always admire a player that never gives up, that keeps on improving his game that resists the temptation of going out with his friends and stays on the practicing table. That’s how a genuine player looks for me and Carmelita Yumita is one hell of a player :-)

I bet we shall hear a lot more about her in the future and before you go on saying that I’ve eulogized another player, just take a minute and consider what her achievements are and what a strong and determined person she is … and then, you’ll realise she deserves every world I wrote about her.
Here’s to my favourite Sinuca player, Carmelita Yumito – the queen of Sinuca! :-)

To find out more about Carmelita visit her personal blog, Twitter account and FaceBook page.