Advani savours 'toughest' win

Ace cueist felicitated for Asian triumph

Advani savours 'toughest' win

Multiple world champion Pankaj Advani displays his Asian billiards trophy during a felicitation ceremony at KSBA on Saturday. DH Photo

Pitted against some of Asia’s finest cueists, defending champion Advani looked out of his zone right through the tournament, but as has been the case in the past, the Bangalorean stepped up to the plate and delivered the goods.

“‘How do I feel?’ is the first question everyone asks me, and as always, it’s great.” Advani said during a felicitation function at the Karnataka State Billiards Association hall on Saturday.

“This perhaps is one of the toughest wins of my career because I had to fight in every match to stay afloat. Tougher the win, the sweeter the taste of success and for me the tighter it gets the better it is.

“There have been matches I have won in 45 minutes and there are matches like these that push you to your limits. I like the latter and plus this format is just so tough.”
Advani’s loss to compatriot Rupesh Shah in his first match of the league stage had him in a spot of bother as he had to win the next three matches to stay in the tournament, but the ‘pressure cooker’ lived up to his name.

Advani overcame Geet Sethi in the quarterfinal (4-3) and fought past Myanmar’s Kyaw Oo in the semifinals (5-3). Taking on Singapore’s Peter Gilchrist in the final, Advani didn't have the best of starts, as was the case in his previous matches, but held his nerve yet again (6-5) to bag his second title of the year.

The five-time world IBSF champion had won the inaugural edition of the National 6-Red snooker championship in Bangalore on March 16.

“It was a tough spot to be in after losing the first match but that’s just it. I like having something pushing me forward and that just was it. Every match in the tournament went to the decider and against Geet (Sethi), 1-3 down, I thought I was done but somehow I managed to stay in the game and win it.

“At home they call me the pressure cooker because I’m known to cook really well under pressure and it’s just the way I work. This tournament I had to rely on resources of mental strength and I had to come to the fore at the right time. I think I did well,” the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardee said.

Advani was presented a cheque of Rs 50,000 by M C Uthappa, vice-president of KSBA.

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