'I want everything to be perfect'

'I want everything to be perfect'

In a country where most of the youngsters aspire to be cricketers, there are a few who pursue a different sport. Pankaj Advani, India’s ace cueist, followed his love for billiards and brought laurels to the country. As he is all set to celebrate his birthday on July 24, he speaks to Metrolife on his journey so far and future plans.

Having spent more than 10 years playing billiards, Pankaj says that his career has taught him a lot. “I’ve learnt a lot through the ups and downs in my career. As I also got a chance to visit different countries, I understood different traditions and customs,” he explains.

This young lad has seven world titles and has been awarded Padma Shri, ‘Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award’ and ‘Arjuna Award’. “I have put in a lot of hard work, because of which things have fallen into place. My friends and family have supported me a lot. I feel very blessed. It makes me feel that I can continue doing this for a long time,” he says.
Did he really plan to be a professional billiards and snooker player? “I never planned my career. Various factors combined to get the results that I have today. I really don’t know what I would have been, if not a cueist,” he says.

Pankaj can’t imagine a life without billiards now. So where will he be on his birthday? “I have a match in England on my birthday. The good part is that I can finish the match and relax for the rest of the day. I’ll miss my friends and family as I do not have many
people I know over there,” he says.

Pankaj says that he would like to be more relaxed in life. “I feel I become harsh sometimes, be it professionally or personally. That’s what happens when you take up sports as a profession. I want everything to be perfect. Probably, I’ll change that,” he says.

About the billiards scene in India, Pankaj says that people need to change their perception. “In India, we need to think out of the box. With the Olympics happening soon, I believe people will perceive sports differently. People should
accept the fact that every sport has its own identity,” he
observes.

Pankaj also feels that a lot of youngsters play billiards seriously but whether they make a career out of it depends on their performance. “People think billiards is an elite sport, which is not really true. All you have to invest in is a cue,” he adds.
For Pankaj, there is a lot of travelling in store this year and he is looking forward to it.

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