Defending IBSF World, National titles scary at times: Advani

Last Updated: Aug 15, 2010, 14:50 PM IST

New Delhi: Indian ace cueist Pankaj Advani
said the feeling of defending all major titles, including IBSF
World Billiards Championship and Indian National Billiards and
Snooker Championship later this month, gives him a scare and
makes him feel nervous at times.

"The thought that you will be defending all the titles
for next four months sounds a little scary at times. Such
expectations make one nervous. But then I have won five IBSF
titles. So I am confident I can win it this time too," the
Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardee said.

Advani had a rollicking start to the season, achieving
pole position in the overall standings in the selection trials
for both Billiards and Snooker disciplines for the Asian Games
in China and he said such performance has given him a lot of
confidence.

"I maintained my rankings throughout the Snooker and
Billiards trials held on different occasions. I am very much
satisfied with my performance and feeling lot more confident.
The season has got off well for me," Advani told reporters.

"My performance at the trials has helped me a lot in
sharpening my game. I will be defending IBSF World title and
then straight heads to defend Nationals title, both taking
place in Pune. So the Asian Games selection trials have helped
me to better prepare for the challenges ahead.”

"Last two Billiards camps were the most intense as there
was a lot of pressure on all the players to perform well in
order to make the cut for the Asian Games. I was ahead in the
first two camps and finished second in the third camp. Then in
the fourth, I attained top position," said Advani, who will
make his third Asian Games appearance this year.

Advani will be defending his title in both Points and
Time formats at the IBSF World Championship from August 20-28
and in Billiards and Snooker disciplines in the Nationals from
August 29 to September 14 but the seven times World Champion
said he prefers Time format over Points format.

"I personally like the Time format as it allows you to
show your ability. It`s like a Test match of cue sports, the
longer version where you have to play for four hours. Points
format is like a Twenty20 where you have to get off early.
It`s more interesting to watch," said the 25-year-old.”

"You have 150 points to score in the best of five frames.
Whoever scores 150 first wins the frame. In Time format you
play for two to four hours. The score will continue to move
and after the completion of the play, the total will be
counted and whoever scores more wins the game," he said.

The Padamshree awardee rates Peter Gilchrist of Singapore
and Mike Russell of Qatar as his toughest opponents in the
IBSF World championship.

"Peter Gilchrist and Mike Russell are playing extremely
well this season. These two guys are to watch out for. Apart
from them, players from Myanmar and Thailand would also
present a tough challenge to the Indians," said Advani.

PTI