Newly crowned world billiards champion Rupesh Shah has credited former champion Geet Sethi with playing a ‘vital role’ in his victory at Leeds last week.

“I must thank my friend and mentor Geet Sethi for the vital role he played. Sometimes, in the past, my mind has wandered away from the game, and Geet has always pulled me back to get me to focus again.

“He usually shares a room with me when we travel, and talks to me a lot about the game. We shared a room in this tournament too, and he said ‘You’re playing so well that I get the feeling that you will never leave the table’.

“These encouraging words gave me so much confidence,” Shah said here at a felicitation function organised by the Karnataka State Billiards Association (KSBA) on Sunday.

Shah, who won his second world title when he clinched the World billiards championship (points format), said he was thrilled to beat quite a few stalwarts on his way to the title. “This is a special victory for me. I beat (Mike) Russell, (Peter) Gilchrist and Michael Bolton convincingly, which makes me very happy,” he said.

Areas to improve

The 39-year-old, however, added that there are certain areas he needs to improve on. “My temperament is a worry. If you look at Pankaj Advani, for example, he is consistently good. But I have a lot of ups and downs. I’m trying to work this out and be more consistent.”

Advani, who completed a double for Indians by winning the timed format event in the championship, described the twists and turns in the final against 11-time world champion Mike Russell, which he won 1,895-1,216.

“I made breaks of 298, 150 and a century early to lead by 400, and Russell responded with a 397 immediately after my 298.

“To make a 397 after spending very little time at the table is phenomenal. Then I made a century and an 80-odd break to take the lead by 250.

“Just before the session break, he gave me a chance in a good position. I made a century, and after that it always catch up, even though he did make a 240 later.”

The two players received cheques for Rs. 1 lakh each from the Billiards and Snooker Federation of India (BSFI), represented by its President, Captain Mohan.

The KSBA, Advani’s home association, awarded its star product with a cheque for Rs. 60,000.

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