Sanjib Guha/DNA India
Mumbai, Apr 16: He has made winning his habit. He had won the IBSF World Billiards (timed format) last year and now on Saturday he grabbed the Asian Billiards crown for the second time to re-establish his supremacy in this form of the cue sport apart from his world snooker title beating second seed Pakistani Saleh Mohammad in Jiangmen, China, in 2003.
Bangalore-based Pankaj Advani is now looking to play both forms of the game with equal importance. “I will pursue both and now will be focusing on the Asian Snooker Championship to be held in Dubai from May 1-10,” Advani told the DNA from Bangalore on Tuesday.
On what makes him perform even after achieving almost all the honours in the world, Advani was prompt: “It’s just the sheer thrill of shining as an artist motivates me every time I make an appearance in any championship.”
Now after winning the Asian Billiards crown in Myanmar, he has become the only Indian cueist to have captured the coveted crown twice. He won it earlier in 2005.
Eyeing the Dubai meet, Advani is confident of a good show when pitted against the top Asian cueists from China, Taipei, Pakistan and Thailand. “They are all tough competitors…but my motto is to win,” he said.
Year 2005 was the most significant in Advani’s career, when he won three world titles. With a hectic season ahead of him, Advani will take it one by one. “I have a lot of engagements this year, but I am concentrating on the Asian snooker first and then I will take a decision on the other meets to follow,” Advani quipped.
In the IBSF calendar, the most important of the meets are the World Billiards Championships scheduled for early September in Bangalore and followed by the World Snooker Championships to be kicked off from October 27 in Wels, Austria.
But the Indian cueist doesn’t seem to be thinking of that at the moment as for him first thing comes first. He also became the first player to complete a grand double by winning both the points format as well as the time format titles in the IBSF World Billiards championship. The success fetched him that coveted Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award which put him alongside Sachin Tendulkar, Leander Paes and many others sporting icons of the sub-continent.