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Advani, Shandilya assure gold for India

India get a gold as both the billiards maestro have reached into the final of men's single event.

india Updated: Dec 05, 2006 16:53 IST

India were assured of the Asian Games billiards singles gold medal when Pankaj Advani and Ashok Shandilya cruised into the final after convincing victories in Doha on Tuesday.

Advani, an IBSF world champion in both billiards and snooker, prevailed over Myammar's San Oo Aung with a 3-1 verdict to seal a berth in the final, to be played later on Tuesday.

The experienced Shandiliya brushed aside the challenge of Singapore's Peter Gilchrist with a convincing 3-0 margin to bring more cheer to the Indian camp.

The 21-year-old Advani lost the first frame 95-100 but staged a remarkable comeback to pocket the subsequent three frames with an awesome display of skill and concentration.

The 21-year-old Indian, who won the Rajeev Gandhi Khel Ratna award this year, carved out a 95-100, 100-19, 100-20, 100-3 victory.

The Mumbai-based Shandiliya did not lose a single frame as he scripted a 100-80, 101-33, 100-22 victory, giving no chance at all to the former world professional champion, who has switched nationalities, who was also tipped for the gold.

Shandilya made no secret that excelling at the Asian Games meant a great deal to him.

"I gave him (Gilchrist) a lot of chances but I wanted to win very badly," he said after the match.

"Gilchrist has a history of making comebacks and I have played against him since 1994. There was a lot of pressure in the match," the 38-year-old said.

Shandilya, the singles and doubles champion at the 1998 Bangkok Games said "here I am not just playing for myself. At any cost, I wanted to win a medal for my country."

In the men's snooker team event, the Indian team comprising Aditya Mehta, Yasin Merchant and Rupesh Shah moved into the pre-quarterfinals after Singapore forfeited the match.

First Published: Dec 05, 2006 16:53 IST