Indian snooker and billiards champion Pankaj Advani is a “happy-go-lucky” guy. He wears his charisma with panache, while his feet remain well on the ground.
During a quick chat, the master of English billiards and snooker, who has as many as 16 world titles up his sleeve, tells BigWire on how missing out on a holiday changed his life forever:
What is that one crucial decision that you had to take to be where you are today?
When I had just started my journey in the world of cue sport, there was a summer coaching camp at the Karnataka State Billiards Association for those wanting to improve their basics.
Every year, I used to visit my cousins in Mumbai during the summer holidays. My ticket to Mumbai was booked that year too! Everyone in my family thought that I wouldn’t miss out on that trip but something changed for me.
I felt that if I needed to make a mark in this game, I would have to stay back to hone my skills and attend the camp which I eventually did.
That decision helped me understand that I had a certain gift which I wanted to make the most of. I ended up being spotted by my coach (till date) Arvind Savur who then took me under his wings and made sure I improved tremendously in hardly any time. I am deeply indebted to him for his immense contribution to my sporting career.
You may like to read
Do you feel you have got your due?
I think this a question you need to answer since the media makes a star out of an achiever. My job is to represent my country in Billiards and Snooker and try to be the best I can. All I can say is that to achieve consistency in sport, hard work, self-belief and the hunger to excel are very important.
What is your life beyond sports?
While it is the game that has taught me so much in life and shaped me in many ways, I have always felt that there is more to life than winning and losing in a sport! I like watching films, listening to music, meeting friends when I am not traveling for tournaments.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I am not someone who looks too far ahead and plans things too much but I would love to help aspirants in the game by coaching in the future.
Opening an academy would be a great way to give back to the sport that has given me an identity. Obviously I would love to improve and evolve as an athlete and as a human being in years to come.
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.