Mario Kimura-Hildred (Tainui, Ngāti Porou) is a 14-year-old billiard player who is in Auckland to participate in the Oceania Billiard Championships.
Despite only having played for two years, he is already on the on the pathway to success. He's sharpening up his skills for the games ahead.
Two years ago, Mario first picked up a cue after watching his parents compete. That was when his passion for the sport grew.
Mario says, “I was bored and my mum got me on the table so she started making me do these little drills and ever since then I've been practising them."
Agnes Kimura says, “He was quite patient sitting there watching, usually you have little ones running around but he was watching.”
Just recently, he made the under 21 New Zealand Academy squad and performed outstandingly at the Oceania Championships this week.
Mario says, “I got to make not only New Zealand but my team proud by getting my first win ever in Oceania, so I was pretty happy about that."
The Secretary of NZBSA has examined Mario's play and is amazed at the level of natural talent he possesses.
Dan O'Sullivan, Secretary of NZBSA says, "I've done a number of World U21 Championships and there's people playing there that have less ability than he does."
His love for the game of snooker runs in the blood. Mario says his parents are his inspiration.
He says, “They're the reason why I’m here, they're the reason I achieve so much in pool and snooker."
His father, Lee Hildred says, "His passion for the game far exceeds what we thought it would and he's proved that by what he's achieved on the tables now."
There's no doubt that with the constant support of his parents, he will continue to blossom.