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Advani eyeing second world snooker title

The former world snooker champion has been working to sharpen his skills in order to clinch back the title at the IBSF World Snooker Grand Prix beginning at Pontin's, England, on Wednesday.

india Updated: Feb 21, 2006 16:07 IST

Former world snooker champion Pankaj Advani has been working quietly to sharpen his skills in order to clinch back the title at the IBSF World Snooker Grand Prix beginning at Pontin's, England, on Wednesday.

Advani, who became the youngest world champion at 18 years in 2003, will lead the Indian challenge, also comprising youngster Aditya Mehta and former Asian Champion veteran Alok Kumar, in the event which concludes on March 3.

The championship, slated to be held in Karachi last year, was scrapped in the wake of the massive earthquake in Pakistan.

As many as 80 players from 35 countries, divided into eight groups, will vie for honours at the event with IBSF member countries allowed to send two players each and nominate a reserve.

The winner will earn a Main Tour Ticket for the 2006-07 season.

The 20-year-old Advani said he had acquired new attitude towards the game and learnt to handle pressure during the matches besides a change in his style of playing.

"I have made some minor changes in my technique and increased my range of shots. I have also worked on my mental aspect and am doing some breathing exercises as well," Advani told

The Bangalorean, who has been placed in Group F, said he would focus on each match as it comes.

Besides Advani, Steve Mifsud of Australia will be among the high quality field. England have sent their Amateur Champion David Grace from Leeds, while Welsh Champion Andrew Pagett and their precocious 14-year-old talent Michael White will represent the host country.

Mongolia have entered a 15-year-old as one of their players, another clear sign of the exciting emergence of new talent across Asia.

In addition to the UK countries and Ireland, a strong European Challenge will come from France, Germany, Holland, Belgium and Iceland.

Iceland have entered Kristjan Helgason, who narrowly missed out on a Main Tour place for 2005-6, losing the European final to Alex Borg.

Aditya Mehta is in Group B in company of Anthony Brabin of Cyprus, Risto Varymen of Finland, Daniel Ward of England, Andrew Pagett of Wales and Sean Boxall.

Alok Kumar has been placed in Group F with David Grace of England, Davy Morris of Republic of Ireland.

First Published: Feb 21, 2006 16:07 IST