Padmshree Pankaj Advani is a world renowned snooker player from India.
He holds the record of being the youngest national snooker champion at the age of 17. He is second cueist to win both the billiards and snooker amateur world titles.
In the year 2005 he achieved a historical feat by becoming the first player to win both the Time and Points format titles in the IBSF World Billiards Championship in Malta. He is the recipient of the 2005-2006 Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, the highest sports award in India.
Pankaj Advani was born on July 24, 1985 in Pune.
He received training in snooker from former World number four Arvind Savur for ten years. At the age of 10 years his acumen for snooker came to the notice of Arvind Savur at the Karnataka State Billiards Association Hall. He used to go there to give company to his elder brother.
In the year 2000 he won his first Indian Junior Billiards Championship title and then went on to win it again in 2001 and 2003. In 2003 he won the India Junior Snooker Championship which made him the youngest National Snooker champion. In the same year he won the 2003 IBSF World Snooker Championship title in China.
In 2005 he won the IBSF World Billiards championship thus becoming the second cueist after Paul Mifsud of Malta to win both the billiards and snooker amateur world titles. By defeating Devendra Joshi in the Points format and seven time world champion Geet Sethi in the longer format of the 2005 IBSF World Billiards championship he became the first player to win in both the formats. For Pankaj Advani the best is yet to come.
Advani made a piece of snooker history in February 2013 by becoming the first Indian player to reach the quarter-finals of a world ranking event. At the Welsh Open he beat three former World Champions – Peter Ebdon, Shaun Murphy and Graeme Dott – to reach the last eight at the Newport Centre. Judd Trump ended his run by a 5-2 score line.
“I am surprising myself with this run but I’m just going with the flow and trying to keep winning,” said Advani after beating Dott. “It’s exciting to be playing against the best in the world, at the top level and under the best conditions.” How does he keep his cool in those tense situations? “I owe a lot of my calmness to my brother who is a sports psychologist,” comes a composed reply. “We have worked a lot on the mental aspect because in sport, at the highest level, everyone has the ability but sometimes it’s just that five per cent of extra mental strength and edge you have that can make the difference.”
He is the only person to have won all five national, regional, and world billiards tournaments in a single season. Advani is also India’s first world champion in 6-Red Snooker.
He received Arjuna Award in 2004, and became the youngest sportsperson to receive the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 2006. This was followed by the Padma Shri in 2009, and many other awards and honors.
Advani is the only person in the history of the game to have won both the billiards and snooker IBSF World Titles as well as the World Professional Billiards Championship.
Team Bharatiyans wishes every success to Padmashree Pankaj for his future achievements.
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