|Sport country India|
Name Pankaj Advani
|Century breaks 16|
Career winnings £59,763
Highest ranking 56
|Born 24 July 1985 (age 30)
Pune, Maharashtra, India (1985-07-24) |
Nickname The Prince of India The Golden Boy
Highest break Snooker: 136 (2014 China Open qualifying) Billiards: 876
Best ranking finish Quarter-final (2013 Welsh Open, 2013 Indian Open)
Awards Arjuna Award for Billiards & Snooker
Nominations Big Star Most Entertaining Sportsperson of the Year, CNN-IBN Indian of the Year in Sports
Similar People Aditya Mehta, Geet Sethi, Hamza Akbar, Mike Russell, Abhinav Bindra
Pankaj Advani Snooker and Billiard Champion of India
Pankaj Arjan Advani (born 24 July 1985 in Pune) is an Indian professional player of English billiards and former professional snooker player. In recognition of his achievements, the Government of India has bestowed several awards upon Advani—Arjuna Award in 2004, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 2006, and Padma Shri in 2009. He has achieved a hat-trick of hat-tricks in English billiards, holding the World, Asian, and Indian National Championship titles simultaneously, in three different years: 2005, 2008 and 2012. He became a snooker professional only in 2012, and his first season on the main tour was the 2012/2013 season. Advani won the 2014 IBSF World 6-Red Snooker Championship, on his debut in that discipline. He is the only player ever to win world titles in both the long and short formats of snooker (15-red standard, and 6-red) and both formats of English billiards (time and point). Advani is also India's first world champion in 6-red snooker. On 14 August 2014, Advani helped win the first ever World Team Billiards Championship held in Glasgow, Scotland, along with Rupesh Shan, Devendra Joshi and Ashok Shandilya. On 2nd February 2017, Pankaj Advani won his 29th National Championship Title at the PYC Hindu Gymkhana in Pune, India. This gives him a 39 match-winning streak. Overall, this win was Pankaj Advani's 54th gold: World Titles = 16; Asian Titles = 6; Asian Games = 2; Australian Open = 1; National Titles = 29.
- Pankaj Advani Snooker and Billiard Champion of India
- Early life
- Billiards career
- Snooker career
- 2013/2014 season
- 2014/2015 season
- 2015/2016 season
- 2016/2017 season
- Awards and honours
Pankaj Advani was born on 24 July 1985 in Pune, India. Advani spent his initial years in Kuwait before moving to Bangalore, India. He received his education at the Frank Anthony Public School, Bangalore and completed his bachelor's degree in Commerce from Sri Bhagawan Mahaveer Jain College which comes under the umberella of Jain University, Bangalore. He received training in snooker from former national Snooker champion Arvind Savur.
At the age of 10 his acumen for snooker came to the notice of Arvind Savur after being introduced to the sport by his elder brother Dr. Shree Advani, a noted Sport & Performance Psychologist. He won his first ever title at the age of 12 and went on to set several records at the state and national levels. 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.
Advani made his international competitive debut at the Asian Billiards Championship 2002, held at Bangalore, in which he finished as a finalist. After an amateur World Snooker Champion title win in 2003, he won the IBSF World Billiards Championship in 2005 at Qawra, Malta, where he became the first to achieve a "grand double" by winning both the time and point formats, a feat he repeated at the 2008 event in Bangalore. He is the only Indian to have won the amateur world title in both snooker and billiards.
He is also the youngest person to have won all these world titles in English billiards, for a record 8 times. Advani also remains the only person to have won all five national, regional, and world billiards tournaments in a single season, a feat he achieved by winning the Indian Junior National Championship and Senior National Championship, the Asian Billiards Championship, and both the World Billiards Championship (point format) and World Billiards Championship (time format).
Advani won the WPBSA billiards title, at Leeds in 2009, against the defending champion Mike Russell; Advani won 2030–1253, after gaining an 800-plus lead at his opening break. He became the first person in the world to win the trio of the WPBSA World Billiards Champion pro title (which he has held twice, in 2009 & 2012), and the IBSF World Billiards Champion amateur title, as well as the IBSM World Snooker Champion amateur title.
In April 2012, Advani won the Asian Billiards Championship in Goa, India to become the first player to win 5 Asian Billiards Champion titles. This takes his total tally of international majors to 17 – 8 Worlds, 5 Asian Billiards, 2 Asian Games Golds, 1 Australian Open and 1 Asian Team. It was announced in May that Advani had accepted the Indian wildcard place on the main snooker tour for the 2012/2013 season.
In October 2012, in Leeds, England, Advani won his seventh (counting professional and amateur) World Billiards Championship title, eighth world title overall, beating defending and nine-time WPBSA World Billiards Champion Mike Russell again, in the timed division final (Advani did not make it to the points division final).
Pankaj Advani, on international competitive debut in the discipline, won the IBSF World Snooker Championship (i.e. the World Amateur Snooker Championship) on 25 October 2003 in Jiangmen, China. He was 18 years old, and became the youngest Indian to win the title, his first world title. A decade later, as a 28-year-old, at the IBSF World 6-Red World Snooker Championship in Sharm-El-Sheik, Egypt, he won one of the amateur world titles (on debut in the short format).
As a new player on the tour, Advani would need to win four matches to reach the main stage of the ranking events. He did this in just his fourth attempt, when qualifying for the International Championship. He defeated Craig Steadman 6–1, six-time world champion Steve Davis 6–5 (after being 1–4 down), Alan McManus 6–3 and Michael Holt 6–4 to reach the venue stage for the first time. He made four century breaks during qualification, the most of any player. Advani was to play a wildcard match once at the tournament in Chengdu, China, to reach the last 32, however he decided to withdraw from the tournament to take part in the World Billiards Championship, which he went on to win. He also reached the semi-finals of the minor ranking European Tour Event 1, beating four-time world champion John Higgins 4–1 along the way. Advani lost to Mark Selby 2–4. Advani played in eight of the ten of these Players Tour Championship events and finished 40th on the Order of Merit.
At the 2013 Welsh Open, he became the first Indian player to reach the quarter-final stage of a ranking event with a 4–1 win over Graeme Dott in the last 16, but lost 2–5 to Judd Trump. Advani's season ended when he was beaten 8–10 by Joe Swail in the first round of World Championship Qualifying. He was ranked world number 74 after his first year on the main snooker tour.
The 2013/2014 season saw the introduction of a ranking event in Advani's home country of India for the first time which he qualified for by beating Matthew Selt 4–0. At the tournament in New Delhi Advani defeated Marcus Campbell 4–1 and Mark Allen 4–2. His match with Allen finished at 11 pm local time, with Advani back in last 16 action at 10 am the next morning to play Stuart Bingham. The match went to a deciding frame and when Bingham broke down on a break of 30, Advani stepped in to compose a match winning 86. Advani played compatriot Aditya Mehta in the quarter-finals in an iconic match in Indian snooker as the winner would be the country's first ranking event semi-finalist. The match was heavily focused on safety and it was Mehta who advanced with a 4–3 win. His best run in a ranking event during the rest of the season was at the World Open, where he narrowly beat Xiao Guodong 5–4 to set up a last 32 meeting with Ding Junhui. Advani had a lead of 4–2 in the best of nine frame match and was 35 points to 0 ahead in the seventh frame to be on the cusp of a shock result against the player who had already won four ranking events this season. However, Ding made a break of 52 to win the frame, compiled a 136 to draw level and won the deciding frame in one visit to defeat Advani. Advani's successful season saw him finish inside the top 64 in the world rankings for the first time as he was placed 56th.
Advani didn't enter any tournaments until September 2014, when he announced that he was relinquishing his snooker tour card to concentrate on his billiards career and spend more time with his family. He received an invite to participate in the wildcard round of the 2015 Indian Open, but lost 4–3 to Rhys Clark.
Advani wrote himself into the history books in May 2016 by winning the Asian 6-Red Snooker title. He became the first player in the world to hold the world title as well as the continental title at the same time after he beat Malaysian Keen Hoh Moh 7–5. In the same tournament, Advani sailed to the semi-finals of the Snooker Championship where he lost to Thailand's Kritsanut Lertsattayathorn.
Advani received an entry in to the wildcard round of the Indian Open and he beat Fang Xiongman 4–2 and Elliot Slessor 4–0, before losing 4–3 to Stephen Maguire in the second round. He won all of his group matches at the Six-red World Championship and then eliminated Lukas Kleckers 6–0 and Yuan Sijun 6–4. Michael Holt withdrew from the event which moved Advani straight in to the semi-finals, where he was defeated 7–4 by Ding Junhui.