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?Billiards gaining popularity?

WAY BACK in 1997 or thereabouts, when he held cue for the first time in his life nobody had even the faintest idea that this boywould be a world champion in just nine years.

india Updated: Jan 28, 2006 12:48 IST

WAY BACK in 1997 or thereabouts, when he held cue for the first time in his life nobody had even the faintest idea that this boywould be a world champion in just nine years. Today at 19, he walks tall literally, and needs no introduction. He is none other than world snooker and billiards champion Pankaj Advani. The collegian from Bangalore was in the City to participate in the prestigious Vikarm awards ceremony.

Winner of a string of championships, Pankaj said every sportsman aspires to win prestigious awards like Vikram award or any other. The awards motivate sportsmen to maintain their level of performance in future.

When asked about the prospects for the game in the country, he said snooker and billiards are getting popular in the interiors the country. “It is wrong to say that this is a game of elite class. Many players from small places are now playing the game,” said Pankaj.

There is an immense talent, he added. Asked to comment if the cricket overshadowed other games, he replied that every game has its own identity and there should be no comparison between two different games.

“Though I am not a keen fan of cricket, I am still of the view that cricket enjoys popularity because of greater exposure,” he opined.

Pankaj appreciated the hard work of City-based snooker player Kamal Chawla. “He needs to have greater finesse in his game. Regular practice would help him earn name at the national and international level,” said the world champion.

He is confident that billiards and snooker will get berth in the Olympics. He lauded the State Government for felicitating the players.

First Published: Jan 28, 2006 12:48 IST