Pankaj Advani says no to Bollywood

New Delhi: The poster boy of Indian cue sport Pankaj Advani has turned down offers from Bollywood filmmakers, citing time contraints because of his "crazy" schedule.

"Yes there have been offers but since I`m the only one in the country playing both snooker and billiards on the international arena, my schedule is nothing short of crazy.

"To concentrate on other things, I need to take time off from the game. Even then I can`t take more than a month or two off," Advani, who had won a gold medal for India in recently concluded Guangzhou Asian Games, told PTI Bhasha in an interview.

Talking about the Asian Games, Advani said that he always knew that he was going to fetch a gold medal for India.

"The pressure was immense, especially as India had not won any gold in the two days prior to the billiards finals. I desperately wanted to win the first gold for India and visualised myself standing on the podium with the gold medal, seeing India`s flag going up and hearing the National Anthem being played.

"When it all happened, it was deja vu," the player from Bangalore said.

Pankaj, however admitted that getting the world title is tougher than winning the Asian Games medals, since the level of competition is higher.

"Competition wise, a world title is much tougher to get as the competition is not restricted to Asian countries only. But since the Asian Games comes once in 4 years, so people tend to think this is it.

"But having said that, we had some of the finest players in the continent who competed in the Asian Games," he said.

Meanwhile, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardee demanded
for a better packaging and marketing of cue sports in India.

"What needs to change is the packaging and marketing of the game. Corporates and the media can help the sport move ahead, Pankaj said.

"Cue sports are pretty well-known in India. We have people playing in clubs, parlours, apartment complexes. Yes, you can`t play it in the gullies like you can play cricket. But let`s face it, cue sport has brought India the highest number of world titles. A legacy started by Wilson Jones (who won India the first ever world title in any sport) is still

Pankaj also feels that government could do more to promote the game. He said that developing attractive and fast-paced exciting tournaments televised live can make a big difference.

Meanwhile, on the personal front, despite not winning any medal in snooker event he is not considering the idea of choosing either billiards or snooker at a time.

"There are no excuses for losing. My playing both disciplines had nothing to do with the results. I have been managing both pretty successfully though my success rate in billiards has been much higher than snooker. I plan to pursue both disciplines."

He is also very well aware of the expectations from him every time he enters into a competition but the youngster takes inspiration from none other then tennis great Roger Federer in this regard.

"I love tennis and I believe Roger Federer is a true champion. When you play an individual sport, the expectations and responsibilities are massive," said Advani, who is now planning to take a well deserved break but only after the World Championship in Syria.