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Advani confident of defending National titles

New Delhi: Not disheartened with the failed
title-defence in recent IBSF World Championship, country`s ace
cueist Pankaj Advani is confident of retaining the crowns in
the National Billiards and Snooker Championship commencing in
Pune from Monday.

Advani, the defending champion in both the billiards and
snooker formats, said that he has geared up to negotiate some
stiff competition in the National Championship.

"I am confident of retaining the National titles. Geet
Sethi, Dhruv Sitwala and Ashok Shandilya will present a tough
challenge in the championship but I am hopeful of delivering
the best," Advani told reporters from Pune.

"I failed to defend the IBSF World titles but I don`t
think that will affect my performance in the national," the
24-year-old Bangalore boy added.

The main round of billiards championship will take place
from August 30-September 6, followed by snooker from September
7-14.

In the World Championship, Advani lost to Mike Russell in
both point format and time format and the Indian admitted that
the Englishman was just great with his masterly potting on the
green baize.

Advani lost the final to Russel in points format, while
he went down to the same opponent in semifinal of the time
format.

"Russell is a great player. He is the best. I lost in the
time format because I did not capitalise on the start. Had I
started off better, it would have presented a different
picture. The start was very crucial," Advani said.

Asked about the points format summit-clash, he said, "I
edged past Singapore`s Peter Gilchrist 5-4 in an extremely
close contest and in the semifinal was too tired. The match
lasted for five hours."

"It left me drained as there was only one hour gap
between final and the semis. So I failed to deliver against
Russell. You cannot allow him to occupy the table," Advani
added.

Advani criticised the scheduling of World Championship
and the National back-to-back by the Billiards and Snooker
Federation of India, saying that it left him physically as
well as mentally tired.

"I`ll say that it`s not ideal to organise back-to-back
tournaments. The schedule is bit too long. You have 15 days of
National, before that you had World Championship.”

"It`s not a good idea. It takes a toll on your body," the
seven-time world champion said.

Meanwhile, eight-time world champion Geet Sethi, who lost
in semifinal of both points and time format in the World
Championship, admitted he was not consistent throughout the
event and his game fluctuated at crucial junctures.

"My game fluctuated a lot and I felt inconsistent at
times. May be because age is catching up fast with me. I am 49
now and my body is feeling the pressure," said Sethi.

Sethi lost to Russell in semifinal of the point format.

In the time format, two-time world champion Gilchrist
proved to be Sethi`s nemesis.

Sethi, who will now be playing in the Nationals, said
that he is confident of reaching at least the final.

"I rediscovered my game during the World Championship. I
constructed big breaks of 500-600 and that instilled a lot of
confidence in me. I am hopeful of performing well in the
Nationals," he said.

PTI

From Zee News

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