Advani: ‘Winning three medals back-to-back is special’

Pankaj Advani rates his stunning run at Doha as the finest of his career. In the space of three weeks, Advani won gold and bronze in the IBSF World billiards championship points and long-up formats respectively, before capturing the IBSF World snooker championship title.

Pankaj Advani after winning the title in Doha on Monday.   -  Special Arrangement

Pankaj Advani rates his stunning run at Doha as the finest of his career. In the space of three weeks, Advani won gold and bronze in the IBSF World billiards championship points and long-up formats respectively, before capturing the IBSF World snooker championship title.

“This has to rank as my biggest achievement. To win three medals back-to-back is special. I’ve never played for three weeks in a row; I had a match almost every day. It was a challenge to maintain the hunger, intensity, and freshness required to succeed. I’m absolutely drained, but I’m buzzing,” Advani told Sportstar on Monday.

READ: Advani clinches IBSF World Snooker C’ship title

The Indian cueist had barely a day’s rest between the billiards and snooker events. The technical and mental adjustments that he needed to make were immense. “Billiards and snooker are vastly different. For example, we hit the centre and bottom of the cue-ball in snooker, while in billiards it is mostly top-ball play. Variety is the spice of life, as they say,” Advani said.

The 32-year-old toppled Iran’s Amir Sarkhosh in the snooker final. Advani cites the fourth frame as the turning point of the match. With Advani up 2-1, the two players engaged in a long safety battle, which eventually came down to a black-ball finish. The Bengaluru star showed skill and patience to pocket the black and take the frame. “Once it went down to the black, I knew I had to give it my all. I became more intense and focussed. I knew that if I went 3-1 up, I’d have a big advantage,” he said.

Right through the encounter, Advani’s safety play remained of the highest quality. “I’m very pleased that I played some incredible safeties today. My safety game put Amir in all sorts of trouble. This made it hard for him to get any attacking flow,” Advani said.

The multiple-time world champion added, “Before coming to Doha, I thought I’d do well to win one of the three trophies on offer. To win two golds and a bronze is fantastic.”