Pankaj Advani: I am as passionate and hungry as I was as a teenager

India's ace cueist Pankaj Advani outplayed Thway Oo to win the IBSF World billiards championship in Mandalay.

"It is all about your own rhythm, your ability and your own hunger which reflects on how you perform," Advani said after Sunday's win.   -  Pankaj Advani Twitter

Pankaj Advani, India’s poster boy of cue sports, once again did what he does best — winning a World title.

On Sunday, Advani breezed past local favourite Nay Thway Oo 6-2 in the 150-up format at the IBSF World billiards championship in Mandalay, in what was a repeat of last year’s final — the scoreline including.

“It’s an incredible feeling,” Advani told Sportstar, from Mandalay. “I am as passionate and as hungry as I was as a teenager,” said Advani about his fifth title in the short format of billiards in the last six years.

Advani was in full flow right from the start and, with fluent breaks of 145, 89 and 127, took a 3-0 lead. Oo pulled it back with breaks of 63 and 62, but was forced to watch Advani extend the lead as the Indian secured the next two frames, including a 150 unfinished break. After a reverse in the seventh frame, the Indian scored a 74 to close out the match.

READ | Advani clinches record 22nd world billiards title

Tough semifinal

“I felt more confident and played more fluently against Oo. Last year too I had beaten Oo. And after I got through a tough semifinal against Mike Russell [on Saturday], I felt more at ease. Russell is an incredible player and though I won 5-2, it was a much closer contest,” Advani said. 

Advani, who now boasts of an incredible 22 World titles, attributed the success to his fitness and the deep desire to win.

“More than external factors like in other contact sports, one is fighting his own battle. 

“Though there are safety plays and the like where your opponent pins you down, it is all about your own rhythm, your ability and your own hunger which reflects on how you perform,” said Advani.

 

The Bengaluru-based cueist, who has won more World titles in his sport than anyone else, added “every year the competition keeps improving and you always need to stay ahead. 

“A few years back no one would have thought that someone could win so many titles. Tomorrow someone may well go far ahead of it.” 

Starting Monday, Advani will be competing in the 6-Red snooker and will need to re-adjust to the format. “I will go through the draw and just hope I do not have a morning game, so that I can rest a bit,” said Advani.