State cueists feted

State cueists feted

State cueists feted

Completely satisfied with his progress on the professional circuit, Pankaj Advani said the biggest lesson he has learnt on the gruelling trip is sportsmanship.

“The biggest thing I’ve learnt on the pro tour is sportsmanship,” said Advani on Tuesday on the sidelines of a function where the Karnataka State Billiards Association honoured seven of its cueists for their medal-winning show at the just-concluded Lucknow National Championships.

“I remember beating former world champion Peter Ebdon in a tournament and when I won the next match, he immediately texted congratulating me. Modesty and respect for your opponents is something that I’ve learnt there. Out there, you see a lot of mutual respect.

“So nowadays, I don’t tend to look too much into my opponents. I don’t see how far ahead they are of me or how ahead I’m of them. The feeling of insecurity has disappeared. I’ve now learnt to deal well with success and failure,” added Advani, who regained his National Snooker title at Lucknow.

Determined to end the pro season on a high, Advani confirmed he would be giving the Asian Billiards and Snooker Championships a miss.

“I’ve got the China Open and the season-ending World Championship. Those two events are my top priority now. As the Asian events will be clashing, I will be missing them.”

Advani, who surprised everyone by enrolling himself for the Nationals, said winning the coveted crown will always remain dear to him. “It’s never easy to win a national title. I almost lost to Dharminder Lilly in the semis. It just shows you can’t take anything for granted even if you are a former world champion. I’m glad to return and win the title yet again.”

At a gala function, hosted by commentator Charu Sharma and attended by former international athletes Ashwini Nachappa and Reeth Abraham, Advani (senior snooker gold), B Bhaskar (senior billiards bronze), Arjun Mehta (sub-junior billiards silver), ML Lakshman (junior snooker bronze), Vidya Pillai (senior snooker gold), R Umadevi Nagaraj (senior billiards gold) and Chitra Magimairaj (senior billiards and snooker silvers) were presented with cash prizes.

While Advani, Vidya and Umadevi took home Rs 50,000 each, Chitra was richer by Rs 70,000 (Rs 35,000 each for the two silvers). Bhaskar received Rs 25,000, Arjun and Lakshman Rs 10,000 each respectively.