New Delhi: In a very positive development for Indian cue sport, eight-time world champion Pankaj Advani along with Aditya Mehta, today qualified for the main draw of the International Championship, one of the most prestigious ranking events on the Pro circuit.
India`s leading snooker professionals, Advani (ranked 70) and Mehta (72), qualified for the October 27 to November 3 tournament in Chengdu, China after notching up comprehensive victories over their respective opponents in Sheffield, UK.
"It`s yet again another great achievement for Indian snooker to qualify two years in a row for the massive International Championship. Leading up to the inaugural Indian Open this month, this win by both Mehta and myself is a big boost for the sport," Advani told a news agency.
"I am enjoying the positive momentum I have developed in the season and wish for it to continue," he added.
It will now be interesting to know Advani`s decision regarding the tournament he chooses to play.
Exactly a year ago, Advani had qualified for the International Championship, but chose to compete in the World Billiards Championship in Leeds instead.
The gamble paid off as he went on to lift his eighth world crown during the pro snooker season, which turned out to be an unprecedented feat.
When asked Advani responded: "The dilemma emerges yet again. I`m really happy with my snooker at the moment yet the title defence in billiards is tempting. I will have an answer soon."
In today`s qualifier, Advani started with a 1-0 deficit as his English opponent Dominic Dale opened the proceedings with a 60 break.
From there on, the Indian changed gears winning the next three frames on the trot which included a 118 break, the first century of the tournament. After losing the fifth frame narrowly and the scoreline reading 3-2, Advani once again ran away with two frames in succession with the help of a 59 break.