Advani confident of success at Leeds

Five-time champ Sethi among strong contenders

Pankaj Advani (left) and Geet Sethi will once again carry India’s hopes in the World Professional  Billiards Championship that kicks off on Wednesday.

Forced to defend his IBSF World Billiards Championship (Time and Points formats) and National snooker and billiards crowns back-to-back during a hectic two-month period in Pune this monsoon, the 25-year-old Bangalorean was only able to bring back home the snooker trophy.

Both in the Time and Points format, Advani went down to Mike Russell, the man he beat for his maiden professional crown.

“I don’t want to blame anybody for my defeat,” Advani told Deccan Herald before leaving for Leeds. “It would have been nice had the Billiards and Snooker Federation of India scheduled the Nationals later. However, it’s nice to lose as it gives you a reality check.
“It exposes your weaknesses, which one might not be aware of until you suffer a defeat or two. You just have work on it and improve. Moreover, it makes you hungry to seize back the titles. That apart, I am confident of my Leeds venture,” added Advani.

What makes the task difficult for Advani, still resistant to playing on the professional circuit, is that he will be up against 15 other top cueists in the world, including nine-time champion Russell, five-time winner and compatriot Geet Sethi, and former champ Peter Gilchrist.

“Yes, the competition will be difficult. It’s a five-day event with only the top guys playing. You have to be at your best from day one. The two-day session with super coach Del Hill has been helpful,” said Advani.

Sethi, who last won the title in 2006, echoed similar thoughts and said everyone had a chance of winning. “I always believe I am as good as what I am doing today, not yesterday or my last win. The hectic selection camps have helped me stay in touch with the game competitively. The one who plays consistently good billiards stands the best chance of winning. I am hopeful I can produce it.”

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