Rare triple crowns for Advani and Amee

Advani drubbed Railways’ E. Pandurangiah 6-0 in the final, while and Amee beat Maharashtra's Arantxa Sanchis 4-2 in the women's section.

Pankaj Advani (right) and Amee Kamani, who won the titles.

Pankaj Advani and Amee Kamani completed the unique triple crown by winning the national men's and women’s snooker title in the 84th Manisha National Billiards & Snooker championship at the P. Y. C. Hindu Gymkhana here on Thursday.

Their triple began with the sixth Indian National 6-Red snooker championship held in Mumbai in December 2016. And both had won the national billiards title here. Advani poleaxed Railways’ E. Pandurangiah 6-0 in the final, set to 11 frames and Amee beat Maharashtra's Arantxa Sanchis 4-2 in the final, set to seven frames.

A large number of spectators had assembled to see the clash between a champion cueist Advani and a relatively unknown player like Pandurangiah who prefers the name "Panduranga" in the snooker circuit. He was one of the four Railways players who had virtually wiped out the presence of the PSPB players from the quarter-finals.

Raised in Nellore and employed with South Central Railway, Panduragiah practises at the Railway Institute in Secenderabad with Arvind Kumar and Venkatesham. This was Pandurangiah’s second nationals, but he was clueless in the title match against Advani, whom he was facing for the first time. His safety tactics and slow and steady approach resulted in a long second frame, but Advani put up a commanding show, running up five half century breaks. "I did not play well," said the vanquished Pandurangiah.

Lavishing praise on his opponent, Advani said: "He (Pandurangiah) has been phenomenal. This is his second nationals and he has reached the final. Though playing him for the first time, I did not have to really prepare. It’s not a physical sport wherein you have to find out the strengths and weakness of an opponent. Here, once you get the chance, it’s all up to you. This has been a great nationals because of so many new players in the knock-out. It’s good for the development of the sport."

It was the eighth national snooker title and a fifth double (billiards and snooker) for Advani, while Amee won her second national snooker title. Not aware if any other woman player had won a triple, the delighted Indore girl, Amee, said: "This is a triple for me. I won my first snooker title in Kolkata in 2015. Even if you are leading 3-0, the match is not over because your opponent can always come back."

The certificates, cheques and trophies were presented to winners, runners-up and the third and the fourth placed players by the BSFI president P. K. V. Mohan, BSAM President Rajan Khinvasara and BSFI Secretary S. Balasubramanian.