Pankaj Advani undecided over Indian Open participation

Mumbai: Ace cueist Pankaj Advani on Thursday said he still hasn`t decided whether he will participate in the Indian Open World Ranking Snooker event scheduled to be held in October as the dates are clashing with the World Billiards Championship.

"I have not decided on anything as of now. The World Billiards is coming up in October. The Indian Open is around the same time but it is before the World Billiards. So there are certain crucial decisions which I have to make. All I can say is that the Indian Open is a fantastic major event for the Indians and the players. I would love to be part of it. I would love to play the Billiards as well. I will take a call when the closing date comes closer," Advani told reporters here.

The second edition of the Indian Open World Ranking Snooker Championship will be held in Mumbai from October 13-17, while the World Billiards Championship will be held from October 20-29 at Leeds, England.

The 29-year old said the Billiards and Snooker Federation of India president Captain PVK Mohan and World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association chairman Jason Ferguson are currently talking to the organisers of World Billiards if they could shift the dates.

"I still have some time, a week left. Captain and Jason are also speaking to the organisers of the World Billiards if they could shift the dates a bit. There is hardly any gap now. About three days gap between the end of the Indian Open and the start of the World Billiards. We just have get clarity on the dates. I have one week to decide whether to play at Barnsley or not," said Advani, who recently won his record 10th world title by clinching the World Team Billiards Championship.

The qualification tournament for the Indian Open will be held from September 19-21 at Barnsley Metrodome In England.

"I am torn between both the sports when it comes to choosing one over the other. I have played Snooker in England for the last two years and I missed Billiards a lot at that time. So I thought let me take a break and come back home and play Billiards and represent the country and win medals for the country. I am at that stage where I don`t know what I am going to do next. There are so many events in World Billiards and Snooker that clash with each other or are close to each other. It is what makes my life difficult as a cueist who can play both sports. I don`t know when I will be going back. I don`t know if I will ever be going back. But it is something I have just kept on hold for now," Advani said.

Advani said he enjoyed playing in the inaugural edition of the Indian Open last year.

"As a player I thoroughly enjoyed it last year. The event was well organised. The conditions were great. I am sure it will only get better now. Aditya (Mehta) had a fantastic tournament last year. Let`s hope that one of us can actually go a step further this time," he said.

Captain Mohan said the tournament was a runaway success last year and the tournament could be held in Chennai next year. He added that states like Goa have offered to host the event.

A strong field of 64 players inclusive of many world champions would compete in the Indian Open along with six wild cards from India for a total prize money of 300,000 pounds with the winner pocketing 50,000 pounds.

WPSBA Chairman Ferguson said India could host two or three major Snooker events in the future.

"The mood within world snooker is that we are very excited about the future and particularly excited about the growth here in India. Last year Indian Open was the first time we had a major event in India and we believe that this market could take more than one event. We have a vision where there will be perhaps two or three major events for Snooker going forward. What is important about that is to make sure that the those events are different from each other. We have to bring different challenges to the players and ourselves. I would see at some point a world team championship for example, or a major ranking event," Ferguson said.

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