10:34 am - Saturday January 19, 2019

I’m torn between billiards and snooker: Pankaj Advani

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MUMBAI: Ace Indian cueist Pankaj Advani said he is torn between his two loves, billiards and snooker, and is yet to decide whether to play in the Indian Open or the World Billiards.

The Indian Open will be played between October 1317 in Mumbai with the World Billiards Championship commencing just three days later in Leeds, England, from October 20. It leaves Advani, one of cue sports’ popular figures, in a quandary.

“I have yet to take a call,” said Advani, who recently won his record 10th world title by clinching the World Team Billiards Championship in Glasgow earlier this month.

“After Indian Open gets over, there is hardly any time left for World Snooker. It is difficult for me to decide which one to skip but I’m pinning my hopes on Billiards & Snooker Federation of India (BSFI). It has requested the world governing body to shift the dates for World Billiards Championship,” informed Advani.

BSFI president Captain PVK Mohan expressed confidence that the dates of World Billiards will be moved to allow Advani to participate in both the events.

“We are very confident as we want our top players to participate,” said Mohan.

Even the World Snooker chief, Jason Ferguson, expected Advani to play in the Indian Open. “We need local stars like Advani to play in the event to popularise the sport in this country. I’m sure he will play,” said Ferguson.

Since he holds professional snookers’ membership, Advani will have to play the qualifiers in Barnsley Metrodome in England from September 19 to 21 for the Indian Open.

Advani will have to give up pro membership if he wishes to avoid going to England and play in Indian selection camps for the wild card.

“I have played snooker in England for the last two years and I missed billiards a lot at that time. I am at that stage where I don’t know what I am going to do next.

There are so many events in billiards and snooker that a clash of dates becomes inevitable. It is what makes my life difficult as a cueist who can play both sports,” Advani admitted.

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