Bangalore: Ace cueist Pankaj Advani said there's nothing bigger than the World Billiards Championship, which he won after defeating reigning champion and seasoned Englishman Mike Russell in the Time format final. "The world billiards is held once in a year and there is no bigger event than that. As I said in the beginning of the year, I wanted to play both billiards and snooker equally.
If I didn't play billiards, I would have been only concentrating on snooker this year and not given myself a chance to manage billiards as well," said Advani. The 27-year-old Bangalorean became the youngest Indian sportsperson to win eight world titles when he outclassed the local favourite Russell 1895-1216 in the final in Leeds, England. Advani and Rupesh Shah, who clinched the World Billiards title in Point Format after beating Australia's Matthew Bolton 6-2, were felicitated by Billiards and Snooker Federation of India (BSFI) and Karnataka State Billiards Association (KSBA) here.
The only active player to compete at the highest level in both billiards and snooker, Advani had made a tough choice of picking the World Billiards over International Snooker Championships in China due to a clash in the dates of the two tournaments. And the celebrated cueist said the personal decisions of athletes should be respected just as nobody questions senior India batsman Sachin Tendulkar for not playing in the T20s.
"When Tendulkar doesn't play T20s for India, nobody questions him. It is his personal decision and we respect that, and I think we should respect athletes when they make such important decisions in their career because they have been playing the sport for 15 years. "No one else has been in their shoes for that long, so let's respect their decisions," he said. Asked about his preparations for the snooker event in England, Advani said he has just come back from Leeds and haven't had enough time to practice.
"I did not have time to practice at all. I am going to be practicing for next three days and leave for England, but the journey has been very exciting. I am really tired and at the same time excited," he said. Advani also said his sleep timing has gone haywire, but he has been enjoying the journey because he had been pushing his body and game to the next level. Asked about his marriage plans, Advani said it wouldn't be happening for at least two years from now, but if there is someone who strikes a chord and can connect with him, then he will consider the proposal. "As of now there is nobody in my life," he said.