‘Politics and sports should not be mixed’
Amid tensions between India and Pakistan, ace <g data-gr-id="48">cueist</g> Pankaj Advani believes politics should not be mixed with games and Indo-Pak sporting ties should go on.
Advani, who clinched his 13th world title after defending his World 6-Red Snooker title on August 11 in Karachi, believes the two nations should engage in more sporting and cultural exchange to improve relations. “I don’t think these two (sport and politics) really need to be mixed. When we talk about sport, we talk about integrity, we talk about cutting across barriers, we talk about brotherhood, improving relations and I think that’s the perfect example. When India and Pakistan play in any sport it really augers well for the relationship of both nations in getting closer to each other,” Advani told media.
“In Karachi, they left no stone unturned in making sure that we were completely safe and we enjoyed some great hospitality,” added Bengaluru’s ‘Golden Boy’.
The 30-year-old Padma Shree awardee, who is a proud recipient of the Arjuna Award (2004) and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna (2006), has also taken up the case of his fellow cue sport stars who have been allegedly sidelined by the Arjuna committee. Speaking for Asian billiards champion Sourav Kothari, and the women’s duo of Vidya Pillai and Chitra Magimairaj, the trio whose Arjuna nominations were rejected recently, Advani said that their achievements are in no way less than that of any Olympian.
“I think there is a huge discrimination between sports there are part of quadrennial events versus sports that are not. The irony is that a body like the government discriminates the most. I have questions to ask. Are we working lesser than the people who play Olympic sports? Or are the policies implemented encouraging people to perform just once in four years rather than churn out consistent world beaters?,” the star vehemently argued.
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