Cueists leave for China with an aim to double medals tally

New Delhi: The 17-member Indian cuesports
squad, comprising of last edition`s gold medallist Pankaj
Advani and legendary Geet Sethi, will leave for China in the
wee hours on Tuesday to participate in the 16th Asian Games to
be held in Guangzhou from November 12 to 27.

The 10 men and seven women team, accompanied by three
coaches -- Sanjay Sawant (snooker), Mukesh Rehani (pool),
Manoj Kothari (billiards) and team manager Ravi Tandon --
assembled here for an interaction with the media before
leaving for the quadrennial event.

Advani, who won the gold medal in Billiards singles
category in 2006 Doha Games and Sethi, who along with Ashok
Shandilya, won the bronze in the billiards doubles event,
exuded confidence of a good show by the Indian cueists in
China and said the contingent will look to double its medal
count this year.

In the Doha Games, apart from Advani and Sethi, Shandilya
had also won a silver in Billiards singles while in the
Snooker team event, the country had won a bronze medal.

"I am looking forward to another gold medal this time in
Billiards and it is going to be an exciting event as it is the
second biggest event after Olympics," said Advani.

"I want to shrugg off my losing streak. I know I can`t
win always but I am hoping to do well this time and hope India
wins five medal. Our preparation is good and we have a lovely
blend of youth and experience," he added.

In the last three months beginning August, most of the
men`s players, part of the squad for the Ghungzhou Games,
featured in the series of tournaments including IBSF World
Billiards Championship in Pune, Indian National Billiards and
Snooker Championship, also in Pune, and more recently in the
World Professional Billiards Championship in Leeds, UK.

The Indian cueists also sweat it out at the final
conditioning camp in Bangalore that began on October 20, with
two international coaches England`s Derek Del Hill (snooker)
and Filipino Jorge C Dacer (pool), indulging in some rigorous
training schedule.

The coaches were roped in for a fortnight by the
Billiards and Snooker Federation of India to brighten
country`s medal prospects in the snooker and pool disciplines

"The event will take place from November 13 to 21 and I
am confident we will win medals in all the four disciplines.
There has been a great change in the technique of the ladies
players and I hope they will also add to the medal tally,"
said Tandon, also the member of the Asian Games selection

Sethi feels the just-concluded World professional
championship will hold the Indian cueists in good stead and
said the foreign coaches has helped the team to prepare very
well for the Asiad.

"This time is in great shape after the conditioning camp
in Bangalore and arrival of international coaches also helped
us a lot and we are confident of performing well against
China, UAE and other counterparts and I hope India doubles its
medal tally this year," said Sethi.

The BSFI had a series of selection camps since April
before naming the squad for the quadrennial event.

The squad: Men: Billiards singles: Pankaj Advani, Geet
Sethi; Snooker singles: P Advani, Aditya Mehta; Snooker team:
A Mehta, Brijesh Damani, Yasin Merchant; 8-ball pool singles:
Sumit Talwar, Alok Kumar; 9-ball pool singles: A Kumar, Manan
Chandra; Carom 3-cushion singles: Dharminder Lilly, Vijay

Women: 6-reds snooker singles: Vidya Pillai, Chitra
Magimairaj; 6-red snooker team: Vidya P, Chitra M, Anuja
Chandra; 8-ball pool singles: Indira Gowda, Neeta Sanghvi;
9-ball pool singles: Meenal Thakur, Neena Praveen.