It was Advani all the way

Cue sports

It was Advani all the way

Over the last decade or so, Pankaj Advani has been the flag-bearer of Indian cue sports and the ‘Golden Boy’ didn’t disappoint this season as well, adding three world championship and two national titles to his staggering collection.

Having won everything the game has to offer, the 30-year-old showed no signs of slowing down, starting off in blistering fashion, winning both the national billiards and snooker titles to set the tone for another incredible year.

The international amateur season normally kicks off in August with one world championship followed by another and Advani (pictured below) was in destructive form in all of them, going from strength to strength.  He retained his World 6-red Snooker Championship crown in Karachi, flooring the Chinese teenage sensation Yan Bingtao 6-2 in a lop-sided final. Advani then took part in the Team Snooker Championship where India lost to arch-rivals Pakistan in the quarterfinals.

The Bengalurean then emplaned to Adelaide to re-engage with his first love — billiards — where he fell agonisingly short of a grand double. He tamed Peter Gilchrist 2408-1240 in the Time Format World Championship final, exacting revenge over the Singaporean after falling short 4-6 in the Points Format title clash.

Advani then capped another outstanding year on a stupendous note, annexing an unprecedented 15th world title when he defeated another Chinese sensation Zhao Xintong 8-6 in the final of the World Snooker (15-red) Championship in Egypt.

That was the first world title that Advani won as a precocious teenager way back in 2003, leading to a decorated career. While he has won many world titles after that, the world snooker was something he wanted to regain after falling short a few times. “It’s really great to regain the world snooker championship,” remarked Advani after the feat. “Now I’ve won every world crown at least twice. No one can say it was a fluke. It’s a very satisfying feeling.”

Advani apart, there was some success for his compatriots too. Vidya Pillai ended up with a silver medal in the World 6-red Snooker Championship where a fast-rising Amee Kamani lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Ng On Yee.

Amee also suffered another painful semifinal loss in the15-red World Championship but has shown enough promise that she can go the distance in the seasons to come. Arantxa Sanchis beat R Umadevi Nagaraj in the final of the World Billiards Championship, making it a good year for the women cueists.

The junior men didn’t have a great year with both Shrikrishna Suryanarayanan and Hritik Jain crashing out in the round of 64 stage at the U-21 Snooker Championship. At the World U-18 Snooker meet Suryanarayanan lost in the quarters.
In a gist, it was a one-man show yet again but it was a riveting one.

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