Pankhaj Advani, born in 1985 to a Sindhi family, is 23-time World Snooker Champion and 15-time World Billiards Champion
Doha: India’s Pankhaj Advani successfully retained his Asian Snooker Championship at the Al Messila, in Doha, Qatar on Thursday evening outplaying Amir Sarkhosh of Iran in the best of 11 frames final.
The 36-year-old triumphed in 2019 but in 2017 he was the runner-up. In 2019, Pankhaj also became the only player who won the titles in all forms of billiards, snooker, 6Reds, and 10Reds competitions.
In 2018, Pankhaj, a calendar grand slam winner and 23-time world champion, defeated the same Iranian rival 8-2 to win the 15-frame IBSF World Snooker Championship also in Doha.
On Thursday’s final, Pankhaj began with 50-plus break in the first (55) and second (50) but in the ninth and the final frame he posted 63 for a convincing win. For all his efforts, Pankhaj also went home richer by $7,000.
“I’m happy to defend the title and pick up from where I left off before the onset of the (Covid-19) pandemic. The gap only increased the drive and hunger to compete and do well on return,” Pankhaj was quoted by Indian news agency PTI. The 2020 edition was not held due to the pandemic.
On Wednesday, in the quarterfinals, Pankhaj who is based in Bengaluru brushed aside the challenge of Alijalil Ali and in the pre-quarterfinals Alijalil blanked Laxman Rawat, another Indian in the fray, while Pankhaj showed the exit door to fancied Tam Yun Fung of Hong Kong.
Asian snooker is the first major international championship for Indian cueists after a 19-month break due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Fancied Babar Masih of Pakistan, Habib Subah of Bahrain, Tam and Khamis Alobaidli of Qatar fell by the wayside before reaching the quarterfinals.
The event is the first event for billiards and snooker since March 2020. At least 42 players from 19 countries participated in the Asian championship including Pakistan, India, Iraq, UAE, Qatar, Nepal, Iran, Hong Kong, Jordan, Palestine, Oman, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria and Mongolia players.
Pankhaj Arjan Advani is a 23 time world champion. He has won the IBSF World Billiards Championship 15 – times, the World Team Billiards Championship 1 – time, the IBSF World Snooker Championship (15 Reds) 3 – times, (6 Reds) 2 – times, the IBSF World Team Cup 1 – time and the IBSF World Team Championship – 1 time.
Pankhaj Advani was born on 24 July 1985 to a Sindhi family 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. 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 11 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 not only won the Indian Junior Snooker and Billiards Championship, he also won the senior snooker champions which made him the youngest National Snooker champion at age 17.
Pankhaj Advani is recipient of India’s highest award of Padma Bhushan.