Kolkata: Indian cue sports star Pankaj Advani on Thursday remarked Olympic achievement has become national "obsession" and urged the athletes to change their perception to excel in their respective disciplines.
"Our country is starved of Olympic medals and the government announces ridiculous incentives for an Olympic medal. I think our country is obsessed with Olympic medals," Advani said after making the semifinals of the senior national billiards beating Brijesh Damani 4-1 at the Bengal Rowing Club.
"I think there's too much pressure on winning the Olympic medal. Our athletes would perform better if the pressure is less. We need to change the perception. No doubt Olympics is a mega event but it's about being at the top of your sport."
Citing example of tennis icon Roger Federer, the winner of 12 world titles said: "He was once asked whether he would prefer an Olympic gold or a Wimbledon title and he said the latter. After all, it's the highest prize money in your sport."
"No doubt the Olympics or the Asian Games come once every four years. But if you want to judge an athlete's greatness you have to see how he performs year in and year out and how consistent he is... An Olympic gold is great but winning a world championship (in your discipline) is not any lesser achievement."
The 29-year-old had a landmark last year adding four titles to his eight world wins as he shifted base to his home town.
"It looks quite impossible to do a repeat of what I achieved last year but I'm happy to come back home and be with my family, drive my own car. I'm motivated by the excellence and hope to keep performing."
Advani also did not rule out coaching in near future.
"I'm open to coaching and start an academy, preferably in Bangalore. It's about giving something back to your sport. KSBA is the mecca of Indian cue sports and I would love to have it in Bangalore."