Pankaj Advani, who won an unprecedented 22nd world title in cue sports on Sunday, September 15, is hungry for more. He won a fourth straight 150-up format world crown at the IBSF World Billiards Championship in Mandalay, Myanmar, beating local favourite Nay Thway Oo.
"Every time I participate in a world championship, one thing is clear — my motivation to excel has not diminished. This win a testament to the fact that my hunger and fire are both well and truly alive," said the 34-year-old, who will adjust to snooker from September 16, chasing world titles in the IBSF World Six-Red Snooker and the World Team Snooker Championships.
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Advani has won more world titles than any other player in history across the various formats of billiards and snooker. In the last few years, he has dominated the shorter format in billiards, which is very challenging. The unpredictability in the format makes the consistency shown by Advani that much special. So was his victory over local favourite Thway Oo, whom he beat 6-2 in the final, a repeat of what transpired in last year's world final.
He has won a world crown every year since returning from a professional stint in the UK in 2014. In the short format of billiards, this was Pankaj's fifth title in the last six years.
"It's such a touch-and-go format and so unpredictable that winning this four years on the trot and five out of the last six is extremely special," said the champion. "To maintain consistency in this format especially is an incredible feeling and winning the title for four years in a row."
Pankaj has always maintained that neither he, nor his sport, have got the due recognition in the country. He, however, feels his victories on the world stage have helped in making the sport popular, and it is a matter of time before it becomes mainstream.
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"Well, it’s unfair to say cue sports is not there compared to badminton, chess or wrestling. It’s catching up first, but maybe it has to make more noise," Advani told The Telegraph.
"The schools and colleges are giving space to this game,̈ he added. ̈So, that’s a huge plus I think. And if you ask me about my contribution then the impact of Pankaj Advani’s contribution to the game would only be felt 25 years down the line…. When it goes to every nook and corner of the country."
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