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Advani continues to rule green baize

Pankaj Advani has been churning out world titles consistently and this year too, he ruled the green baize by winning the world billiards title in the short format to take his overall tally to 16.

Advani continues to rule green baize
Pankaj Advani

New Delhi

Advani has won a staggering eight world titles in the last three years and he continues to go about his business unassumingly. It is as if he is expected to lap up the trophies every season. Probably that was the reason there was little noise earlier this month when he outdid familiar foe and multiple time world champion Peter Gilchrist in the world billiards final (150 up format) at home for his only major title of the year. 

Last year, he had completed a hat-trick of titles and 2014 was even better with four glittering crowns. Amid the focus on his achievements at the world level, his first ever Asian 6-red snooker title in May should not be ignored. However, 2016 was not all about him. Dhruv Sitwala defended his Asian billiards crown beating compatriot Bhaskar.

Balachandra in the final. Balachandra had accounted for none other than Advani earlier in the competition. Forty-two year old Dharminder Lilly also made the nation proud by the lifting the world snooker trophy in the masters category (over 40) in what was his maiden attempt. Not discounting the achievement of other Indians, Advani easily was the standout performer.

What is most striking about him in all these years is his ability to seamlessly juggle between billiards and snooker. Less than a week after he secured a bronze in the world snooker championships in Doha, Advani was back in his hometown Bengaluru in the first week of December to defend the world billiards crown. 

It is no surprise that juggling between the two cue sports remains his biggest challenge. The transition is surely not easy as he experienced it in Bengaluru. But the fighter that he is, the master of the green baize quickly recovered from a quarterfinal loss in the world billiards (long format) to last the distance in the shorter version of the game.

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