Pankaj Advani, rated as the ‘Golden Boy’ of Indian cue sports by several experts, is set to spearhead the Indian challenge in the IBSF World snooker championship beginning here on Saturday.
“Well, any IBSF world snooker championship is always a very tough proposition. It is unpredictable and it all depends on how high you can raise the bar, especially in the knock-out phase,” says the former champion in an interview to The Hindu.
“Definitely, I could have won atleast once more after my maiden world snooker title in 2003. But I feel that I made some mistakes in the quarterfinals of the last edition and even in 2004. It is imperative to be highly consistent right through,” explains the 24-year-old, who completed a rare double by wining the world billiards title in both points and time-frame formats.
Feeling ‘at home’
“Probably, the Hyderabad edition could be the best chance for me to win again. Psychologically I feel at home, and have a lot of confidence,” says the star cueist who has also won the world amateur snooker and the billiards titles earlier.
“The Chinese should be a formidable force. The Europeans are always a threat and of late cueists from UAE are doing really well,” explains Advani. “I don’t want to hazard any guesses on my prospects in the World championship. I want to take it match by match.”
“My preparations have been good. We (all Indian cueists) should have learnt from the experience of the recent Asian Indoor Games and we are determined to make use of the ‘home’ advantage here.”
The event will also have Advani’s ‘guru’ Arvind Savur in action. How does Advani feel about this? “Oh! It should be great. Arvind uncle has five times more experience than me. And it is great that the entire cue sports fraternity will be playing. Moreover there will be well-wishers wanting you to perform well. But there will also be pressure. So, it works both ways,” he says.
The World snooker championship in India is likely to generate a lot of interest and draw more newcomers to the sport,” he says on the benefits of hosting the event.
“May be, the perception has to change to a great extent. We have won so many medals. If someone wins a major event, he or she has to be recognised. Like cricketers any sportsperson works really hard to achieve that result.
“I must say that there is a big change already. Many youngsters in different sports are really hungry and doing well in the international circuit,” he says.