Bangalore: Indian cueists’ rich medal haul in the ongoing Asian Games is a shot in the arm for cue sports and would give it a chance to push for a place in the sports ministry’s ‘priority list’, feels gold medallist Pankaj Advani.
Indian won one gold, one silver and two bronze medals in the ongoing Games and such an effort should help the sport find a place in the ‘priority’ list, and the “position it deserves” in the Indian sporting firmament.
“That’s what we want. All these things were going through my mind (as he was playing the final in Guangzhou). We know how tough it’s to get support for a game like ours or any discipline of sport which requires funding from government and other sources,” Advani said.
“It’s a bigger picture that we are looking at,” the 25-year-old Bangalorean added.
Asked about his gold-winning effort, Advani termed it a sweet victory as he converted a “bad day” into a “winning performance” that helped him defend the title.
“Sweetest part of the victory was I was able to keep this medal for the next four years,” he said.
Advani rejected suggestions that his loss in the pre-quarterfinals of the snooker event was due to poor form. “I have had some really good performances over the year. You can never always land up on the winning side. When I go into a tournament, no one expects anything less than a gold medal and that can be tricky at times,” Advani said.
The cueist expressed the view that for someone to judge a sportsperson’s “success rate and performance”, one need to check it over a period of three to five years and not six months or one year.
Advani also confessed that for him it’s difficult to imagine a life without billiards and snooker.
“Billiards and snooker is my identity. I really don’t know what I would do without the game. The game has given me everything. If there was no billiards and snooker, there is no Pankaj Advani. No one would know me,” he said.
“It has given me so much. It has given me a fantastic coach in Arvind Savur who has guided me right from the start. This is all I ever wanted as a kid. It’s tough to think beyond the game really at this stage,” he concluded.