Pankaj Advani wins Sportstar Aces 2020 Special Jury Award

Pankaj Advani was presented with the special jury prize at the Sportstar Aces Awards in Mumbai on Monday.

A legend in the world of cue sports, Advani recently won his record 23rd world title at the IBSF World Snooker Team event. With that win, Advani has now won every IBSF title.

Pankaj Advani makes an honest admission. The cue sport legend admits that the relationship between a journalist and a sportsperson can be ‘tricky at times’. But then, in his long and illustrious career, Advani has maintained a healthy relationship with Sportstar and The Hindu, ‘from day one’.

Advani recently won his record 23rd world title at the IBSF World Snooker Team event, and with that, he now has won every IBSF title — a feat that’s rare in the world of sport.

As a recognition to his incredible feat, Advani received the special jury prize at the <italic>Sportstar</italic> Aces Awards and Advani was excited.

“It’s always special to be given a special jury award. The last few years have been great. I am thankful to Sportstar and The Hindu for covering my journey, right from the start, especially when I won the world title for the first time in 2003. It’s always good to be continuously covered and be recognised by The Hindu and Sportstar,” Advani said.

At the age of 18, Advani won his first world title, and at 34, the chances of him winning another world title have certainly not diminished.

Advani, too, admits that it’s never easy to maintain the standard for years. But he has been able to set the bar high.

“It’s never easy to keep up that level. In sports, there’s a lot of pressure. People are constantly improving. Beyond a point, you find it difficult to improve. People are always playing the catch-up, so you need to catch up too. That’s the fun of the sport,” he said.

His journey has taught him a lot. “It challenges you, keeps you on your toes but at the same time, you learn to be gracious after defeat and be humble after win. That’s what I have tried over the years, it’s never easy,” he said.

At a time when many still consider cue sports as a ‘niche affair’, Advani believes that more publicity and live telecast could help the sport become popular.

“The standard of the game can go up, if the game is made popular and is televised. We have a lot of talent and we have a lot of champions from our country,” he said, hoping things will improve in the years to come.

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, chess ace Vishwanathan Anand, The Hindu Publishing Group Chairman N. Ram, former India hockey captain M. M. Somaya, Olympian shooter Anjali Bhagwat and Olympian shuttler Aparna Popat selected the deserving winners in categories involving young athletes, teams, coaches and parathletes.

The awards look to create a medium of knowledge and vision exchange as it brings all stakeholders of Indian sports under one roof.

You can watch the Sportstar Aces Awards on Sony Ten 1 SD & HD on Sunday 26 January at 8 PM (IST).

1st Repeat : Monday 27 January at 6 PM, 2nd Repeat : Tuesday 28th January  at 7 PM