New Delhi: Former champion Pankaj Advani and veteran Alok Kumar led the charge as nine Indian cueists reached the pre-quarterfinals of the Point-format in the IBSF World Billiards Championship being held at Carlow, Ireland on Friday.
Indian cueists reigned supreme at the green baize as Advani, Alok and Rupesh Shah streamrolled the opponents to top their respective groups in the tournament, which started on August 24 and will continue till September 1.
Advani topped his Group C, winning all four matches, while Alok and Rupesh too secured top positions from Group D and G respectively.
Nine-time world champion Geet Sethi finished second in his Group E behind Nay Thway Oo of Myanmar to join other Indians in the last-16 stage.
In his last match in the round of 24, Sethi defeated Thanh Binh Nguyen of Vietnam 3-1 to make the grade.
Other Indians who advanced to the pre-quarters include B Bhaskar, Devendra Joshi, Sourav Kothari, Dhruv Sitwala and Ashok Shandilya.
In the last edition of the IBSF World championship played in Pune, Advani had failed to defend both his titles and lost to English cueist Mike Russell in both point and time formats.
In 2008, Advani had won both the titles in the Point and Time formats, defeating compatriots Geet Sethi and Devendra Joshi, respectively.
Meanwhile, for the first time in the history of the world billiards championship, Indian cueists have decided not to take part in the traditional `Time` format of the game.
The reason being most of the Indian players including seven-time world champion Advani and veteran Sethi felt that the Time format will not survive for long and it`s better to popularise Point format among the participating nations.
The shorter version of the game was introduced in the world championship in 2005 and since then, the meet has had both formats.
In the traditional format, a match lasts for four to eight hours. In the shorter format, the player who gets to 150 points first wins that frame and matches are best of five or seven frames.