New Delhi : After failing to defend his IBSF World Billiards (point and time format) and national billiards titles this year, the green baize baron Pankaj Advani has another tough task at hands -- to retain his World Professional Billiards crown.
The 25-year-old Bangalorean, Advani along with veteran cueist Geet Sethi today left for Leeds, UK for the World Pro Billiards championship beginning on October 27.
"The world professional championship is a major event where I will be defending my title. It`s going to be an action-packed five days with best cueists in the world competing for the coveted title," Advani told to reporters before leaving for Leeds from Bangalore.
"It`s a very short tournament where you have to start off quickly. You need to be at your best as the field is tough and competitive. I know it has not been a year to remember but I
am confident of defending this (pro title)," said Advani, who had won the title in September last year after defeating Englishman Mike Russell in the final.
For Advani, the road to success is not going to be easy as the field comprises of nine times world champion Russell, Singapore`s Peter Gilchrist and Myanmar`s Nay Thway Oo.
Russell had beaten Advani in the summit clash of IBSF Billiards point format title in Pune this year and also got the better of the Indian in the semifinals of Time format too.
"Russell is a good player and I am aware of his skills and technique. I will not repeat the same mistakes that I committed during the IBSF championships. Apart from him, Gilchrist is another player to look out for. The tournament is going to be a real challenge for me before the Asian Games in China," said the national Snooker champion.
It`s going to be a tough season for Advani as after the World Pro championship, he will be representing India in the Asian Games to be held in Ghungzhou, China from November 12-27.
Before leaving for Leeds, Advani, along with other fellow cueists, participated in the final conditioning camp for medal hopefuls in Bangalore, organised by the Billiards and
Snooker Federation of India.
However, Advani and Sethi attended the camp for only three days because of the Leeds championship.
"Asian Games is all about pressure. In our discipline, there is best of five frames with each frame of 100 points and that is quite fast. You need to be mentally strong to change
your gameplan according to the situation," Advani, 2006 Doha Asian Games gold medallist in Billiards singles category, explained.
"The conditioning camp has helped us prepare better for the event and also increased our chances of adding to the country`s medal tally," he added.
Advani and Sethi will spearhead India`s challenge in the billiards category in the Asian Games. Advani will also feature in the snooker singles event.