caution - Times of India
THE TIMES OF INDIA, BANGALORE
TUESDAY, MARCH 16, 2010
Advani pulls out the magic
to quell Damani challenge
R Satya | TNN
Bangalore: The buzz that the
new format has created since the
start of the tournament may
have been missing in the final,
but Bangalore sensation Pankaj
Advani proved that he indeed is
a big-match player, no matter
what the format.
There may not be much to
choose between the top snooker
players in the country, but what
separates him from the rest is his
temperament. Advani hardly gets
perturbed — or at least he doesn’t show it — and uses his cue
like a magic wand to wriggle out
of tight spots.
He had to do it once again in
the final of the inaugural OB
Agrawal Memorial 6-red snooker
6-RED NATIONALS FINAL
National Championship at the
KSBA Hall here on Monday.
Pushed to the brink by a resurgent
Brijesh Damani, the 24-year-old
uncorked another of his specials
to annex the title with an 8-7 verdict in front of his adoring fans.
That very nearly didn’t happen when the challenger, who was
playing his first-ever final at the
Nationals, ran up a 7-6 lead. Down
and seemingly out for the count
in the best-of-15-frame final, Advani had to come up with something special, and quickly at that.
He did precisely that and the
big gathering lapped up everything that the little champion had
to offer. Damani tried to keep Advani tight by resorting to safety
behind the yellow. But there was
one red, near the pink cushion,
that Advani could pocket.
In a format where even small
errors can mean a difference between a victory and defeat, most
thought that Advani would resort
to safety play. But the reigning
National snooker (15-red) and bil-
For those Indian cue sports
hopefuls who haven’t decided on
their holiday, the BSFI has more or
less planned one for you. Monsoon
rain and the golden sandy beaches
of Goa in May-end or June first
week is not a bad place for mixing
CHAMPION STUFF: Pankaj Advani poses with the Om Agarwal trophy after his hard-fought win over Brijesh
Damani in the final of the 6-Red Snooker Nationals at the KSBA Hall in Bangalore on Monday
liards champion went for broke,
taking the red to the top left-hand
pocket en route to a brilliant 39
clearance under pressure and
take the match into the decider.
The thunderous applause
from the huge gathering nearly
brought the new structure down.
Then in the decider, Advani showcased his safety play mastery.
When Damani went in-off, the
business with pleasure. The
second selection camp (men’s
billiards and snooker and women’s
6-red) for the Asian Games will be
held in Goa in late May or early
June, confirmed Billiards and
Snooker Federation of India vicepresident Bala. “The third and
fourth camps, back-to-back, will be
held in Bangalore in July,” he
Bangalorean sank a long red to
the top right but lost position on
the black. He then snookered the
challenger behind the green.
After two fouls, Damani removed
the snooker but ended up selling a
red to the centre pocket. Advani
came up with a break of 16 — the
last red wobbled at the jaw before
disappearing during that break —
and resorted to safety play again.
added. The first camp begins in
KSBA on Tuesday.
World billiards likely in Kolkata:
If everything goes according to
plan, India will get to host another
World bash besides the IBSF 6-red
By then, it was all over bar the
shouting. Up 33-0 and with only
the colours on, Damani needed
two snookers. When he missed
the green and went in-off and
turned to offer his congratulations, the crowd went delirious
with joy. The champion pumped
his fists in celebration at winning
a treble at the Nationals. For the
record, the Bangalore ace is also
snooker Worlds in the already
packed calendar this season. “The
IBSF World Billiards
Championships is likely to be held
in Kolkata later this year, but we
are awaiting confirmation,” said
Bala. “They (Kolkata) have asked
for two weeks’ time,” he added. In
the event of Kolkata backing out,
the 2010 World billiards may go the
A ATIMES FFondon
the holder of the World Professional billiards, the IBSF World
billiards (time and format) and
the Asian billiards titles.
“It is really satisfying to win
and no better place to do it than
in front of your home crowd,”
said an elated Advani. “This is
my 20th National title and I’m
catching up with the age,” said
the 24-year-old in jest.
“He kept the pressure on and
I thought it was all over when I
was down 6-7, but I hung in there
and played the crucial points well
to emerge triumphant,” he added.
“I had no pressure going into
the final,” said Damani, the Asian
Indoor Games team gold medal
winner. “This match has given me
a lot of confidence, hopefully I’ll
go the distance next time,” said
the vanquished, the only one to
take the champion the distance.
At one point though, it didn’t
seem as if the match will be an
extended affair as Advani took a
4-1 lead early on. Damani came
up with a 69 clearance in the sixth
frame to pull one back and Advani took the next with a 25 clearance, but Damani returned after
a 15-minute break to take four
frames on the trot. Although Advani leveled at 6-6, Damani came
up with runs of 38 and 27 to take
a 7-6 lead and push the champion on to the backfoot.
Advani replied in the only way
he could to keep his unbeaten
record in the nationals for the
fourth year running.
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Final: Pankaj Advani (PSPB) bt Brijesh
Damani (WB) 8-7 (25-54, 51 (38) -0, 43
(34) -9, 60 (60 cl) -1, 29-5, 0-69 (69 cl),
36-33, 30-38, 31-35, 8-33, 6-48 (43), 4719, 11-65, 48-2, 33-2).
Third place play-off: Kamal Chawla (Rlys)
bt Manan Chandra (Del) 4-3 (40-36, 0-42,
16-45, 42-18, 42-26, 0-45 (45), 51-18).
Final standings: Pankaj Advani 1; Brijesh Damani
2; Kamal Chawla 3; Manan Chandra 4; Rafath
Habib (Rlys) 5; Sundeep Gulati (Del) 6; IH
Manudev (Kar) 7; Divya Sharma (Har) 8.
2009 way — a no-show. Bangalore,
however, is confirmed as hosts for
the inaugural IBSF 6-red Snooker
World Championship, the dates for
which are yet to be confirmed.
Another major international event
to be held in India this year is the
Asian Billiards Championship and
the Asian U-21 Snooker coming up
next month at Indore.
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