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Pankaj Advani defeats Sourav Kothari to win record 26th IBSF World Billiards Championship title

Published at :November 23, 2023 at 8:49 PM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : Outlook)

Ajay Gandhar

Indian Maestro won his first title way back in 2003.

Indian cueist Pankaj Advani has clinched his 26th world title, etching his name further into the annals of billiards history. The triumph came at the recently concluded IBSF World Billiards Championship 2023 held in Doha, Qatar, where Advani overcame a resilient Sourav Kothari in a thrilling final match.

The journey to the summit was far from easy for Advani, who faced a stern challenge from Kothari, the 2018 world champion. The initial hour of the match saw Kothari take an early lead, leaving Advani trailing by a significant margin of 26-180. However, Advani's resilience and unwavering focus came to the fore as he staged a remarkable comeback, clawing his way back into the match and eventually emerging victorious with a commanding 1000-416 win.

Advani, who had won his first world title in 2003, expressed his joy at winning his 26th world title and dedicating it to the country.

“I have experienced this feeling before, but it never gets old. To keep winning world titles year after year is what motivates me to work hard on my skills, body, and mind. To me, consistency is the essence of success, and bringing home world titles for the country is what drives me the most,” he said.

Advani also complimented Kothari for his performance and said he was a tough opponent. “Sourav is a great player and a good friend. He initially gave me a tough fight and put me under pressure. But I managed to recover and play my best game. He is a champion and I am sure he will come back stronger soon,” he added.

Kothari, who had edged out Dhruv Sitwala 900-756 in a marathon semi-final that lasted for about five hours, attributed his loss in the final to fatigue.

“My semifinals went on for almost five hours and I had to play the final with just a little more than an hour’s break. So I guess I was exhausted. I fluffed some easy chances and Pankaj capitalized on them. He played brilliantly and deserved to win. I congratulate him for his 26th world title,” he said.

Kothari said he hoped to redeem himself in the point-format championship, which is the short format, 150-up, and which started later in the day. Advani has also won the World Team Billiards Championship once, making him the most decorated cueist in the world. He has been honored with several awards and recognitions, including the Padma Shri, Khel Ratna, and the Arjuna Award.

Furthermore, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time in the sport of billiards and snooker.

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