World title no 22 for Pankaj Advani
Mandalay (Myanmar): One of India's most consistent sportspersons, Pankaj Advani, on Sunday increased his tally of world titles to 22 by winning a fourth straight final in the 150-up format at the IBSF World Billiards Championship here.
The 34-year-old has brought home a world trophy every year ever since returning from a professional stint in the UK in 2014.
In the short format of billiards, this is Advani'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 athlete.
In a repeat of last year's final against local favourite Nay Thway Oo, Advani re-enacted the one-sided match with the same eventual outcome as well as identical scorelines of 6-2.
"This is the 150 points format in Billiards which is a shorter format and it is unpredictable because anybody can win on that particular day and to maintain consistency in this short format is an incredible feeling (after winning title) for last four years," he told PTI.
From the word go, Advani was in full flow. The gifted Indian was leading 3-0 at the halfway mark with the help of fluent breaks comprising of 145, 89 and 127, while Nay Thway Oo was yet to open his account.
After pulling one back with breaks of 63 and 62, Oo was forced to watch Advani continue to extend the lead. He executed with flair as his sheer brilliance was on display, wowing the Myanmar crowd as they couldn't help but appreciate his brilliant billiards.
Advani secured the next two frames which included a 150 unfinished break. He scored a 74 break and shortly after that closed out the match.
Oo was completely subdued by his accomplished opponent and had to settle for a silver medal for the second time in a row.
With another trophy in the bag, Advani extends his remarkable run of winning a global crown since 2003. The Bengaluru-based cueist has won more world titles in his sport than anyone else.
Advani said winning trophies early in his career did wonders for his mindset.
"Sport is psychological in nature and it helped that I started winning at an early age, and that instilled tremendous amount of self belief in me and I guess that is the reason why I have been able to win that much.
"I feel the opposition has been great and will be better in years to come with a lot more younger players coming, so to be able to maintain this position and repeat this feats is going to be a but then that's what excites me and that is what the sport is all about," he said.
On winning a staggering 22nd world title, Advani added, "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." Advani have to adjust to snooker in less than 24 hours as he competes in the IBSF World Six-Red Snooker and the World Team Snooker Championships.