Advani: An Olympic medal would be great

Advani clinched his eighth World title (seventh in billiards) when he beat the legendary Mike Russell in Sunday’s World Billiards final at Leeds.

But ask the 27-year-old Bangalorean if the Olympic medal is something he misses, and his reply is instant. “An Olympic gold would be great,” said the double Asian Games gold medallist.

Sadly, cue sports have been taken off the 2014 Asiad too, so Advani won’t be able to complete his hat-trick of medals therein.

Pankaj Advani

The annual World Championships though give him an equal kick. “The Worlds are a test of any player’s consistency. To be able to perform at the highest level year-in-year-out requires undying effort and commitment,” he said.

The government recently decided to stop funding cue sports, but after a strong reaction from some of the big names in the game, reversed their decision. Advani was not surprised but hoped things would change in future. “It’s an all-round effort. Once the sport is successful, which it is (India have 31 World titles now), then the authorities must promote and encourage its players as well as improve the popularity of the sport through government and corporate involvement and support,” he said. Finally, the cueist, who also excels at the snooker table, admitted he will never be able to pick his favourite between the two.

“It’s never easy. I love both snooker and billiards equally. My decision of missing the International Snooker Championship in China and instead opting for the World Billiards event, had nothing to do with the nature of the sport. It’s just that I’ve been playing snooker all year, barring the National and Asian Billiards Championships, and I wanted to get a bit more billiards action.” In the end, he got more than just ‘a bit’! 

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