Preview: World Snooker Championship: Pankaj Advani hot favourite

Bengaluru, Nov 18: The holder of 12 world titles Pankaj Advani is one of the title favourites in the men's section and three-time champion Darren Morgan is one to watch out for in masters' category in the IBSF World Snooker Championship starting here tomorrow.

Exclusive interview with Pankaj

Apart from Advani, Vidya Pillai will be carrying the burden of flying the tri-colour high in the women's singles category. The Bengaluru girl is the reigning women's national champion.

Pankaj Advani with Australian snooker player Matthew Boultan during the inauguration of the IBSF World Snooker Championship in Bengaluru on Tuesday.

Advani is riding high on confidence after winning the grand double at the world billiards championships and IBSF World 6-Reds snooker. He had also won gold in the world team championship. Advani, however, has not practised much to keep himself hungry and save energy ahead of the world event.

"I do not want to practice much for next one week because I want to stay hungry and save energy when it matters," he said.

The ace Indian cueist would love to play before the home crowd, but would have to tackle with the pressure of playing well. "It is lovely to play before the home crowd but there will be pressure of not disappointing them," he said.

The event will see some good players from China and Thailand, who would like to showcase their talent on the green baize, and not want to be discounted in the titles stakes. There are players from the world snooker hub United Kingdom.

Advani also knows that it would not be that easy to make his way up the ladder, especially he has to face some challenge from players hailing from China, UK, Honk Kong, Australia and Thailand.

"There are some outstanding players from different countries - different continent. There are cueists from China, UK, Hong Kong, Australia and Thailand. It is not easy to go through every one of them," he said.

Another Bengalurean and also the reigning national champion, Vidya, has the onus of doing well in the women's category for India. She is expecting some good challenge coming from Hong Kong's Ng On Yee and World 6-reds champion 15-year old Siripaporn Nuanthakhamjan from Thailand.

"I have been training hard and I would love to play well before the home crowd. I am expecting good challenge from On Yee and Siripaporn," Vidya said. Chinese teenage players - 17-year-old Zhao Xintong and 14-year old Yan Bingtao - have been hogging the space in media in the recent past.

Xintong had same memorable moments this season as he ended runner-up to fellow Chinese Zhou Yuelong last year in Latvia. As a wild card entry, he reached quarterfinals of both Wuxi Classic and Shanghai Masters. The 14-year old Yan Bingtao, who made it to the round of 32 in both Wuxi Classic and Shanghai Masters, is another rising Chinese talent.

In spite of a strong Indian presence in the world event, there are hardly any other players who could be counted in the league apart from Advani and Kamal Chawla, who had reached the semifinals in 2012. The other top Indian players are Sourav Kothari and gifted Manan Chandra.

The championship will be played on a league-cum-knock-out basis and in an air-conditioned indoor stadium equipped with 20 tables.

The championship was formally inaugurated on Tuesday with all the players in attendance.


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