Nationals to kick off in Bengaluru

The National men’s and women’s snooker and billiards championship commences at Karnataka State Billiards Association (KSBA) on Tuesday.

Pankaj Advani starts as favourite in the National men’s and women’s snooker and billiards championship commencing on Tuesday.   -  SUDHAKARA JAIN

Pankaj Advani and Amee Kamani start as favourites in the National men’s and women’s snooker and billiards championship, which commences at Karnataka State Billiards Association (KSBA) here on Tuesday.

The tournament starts with men’s billiards event, followed by men’s snooker, women’s billiards and women’s snooker (in that order).

The field is led by Pankaj and Amee – both players took the billiards and snooker titles in the previous edition. The duo also won the National 6-red snooker championship, held at Chennai last month.

Bengaluru star Pankaj, who captured an incredible back-to-back World Championship double in snooker and billiards late last year, stated, “The Nationals is returning to the city for the first time since 2006. It feels great to be playing at home. The Nationals has always held a special place in my heart, and the hunger to win is still huge.”

Indore cueist Amee is confident that her attacking game will keep her ahead of the field once again. “People say that I play like a man because I focus more on attack than defence. Most of the girls play quite defensively, but I prefer to attack and keep the pressure on,” Amee said.

The 25-year-old Amee added that two junior players - Ishika Shah and P. Keerthana – have what it takes to go all the way. Keerthana captured three trophies in the recent sub-junior and junior girls' National snooker and billiards championship, before going down to Ishika Shah in the junior girls’ snooker final.

“Ishika and Keerthana can provide good competition to the experienced senior women,” Amee explained.