Veteran Pankaj Advani on Sunday extended his world title tally to 21 by winning the long and short formats of the IBSF World Billiards Championship titles for a record fourth time at Yangon.
While Pankaj has always won the timed version of the long format, the more recent short version eluded him over the years. Pankaj’s city mate from Bengaluru, B Bhaskar, a two-time Asian silver medalist and a bronze medal winner at the world level, had to settle for silver.
A weak break by the tall, lanky Bhaskar allowed Pankaj to start off with a bang as he delivered a massive first blow through a 190 break. An additional 173 and 198 widened the gap beyond reach for Bhaskar as he struggled to score a single century. He sat in his chair, probably realising that there was no stopping his colleague on Sunday.
When Pankaj crossed the thousand mark in the first-to-1500 final, Bhaskar was languishing at 206. The 800-point deficit eventually proved to be a tall order for Bhaskar to bridge. Last year Pankaj did the unthinkable by winning the billiards short format title (he had to settle for bronze in the long format last year) and then went on to annex the snooker title too.
He is the only player in the world to play both billiards and snooker at the world level and win in both with great consistency. Pankaj is the winner of three world titles this year so far.
Asked Pankaj about the recent achievement, he said: “I’m on top of the world to win my fourth Grand Double in Billiards. It was the toughest field with the likes of Bhaskar, Causier and Russell in it and to come out on top is simply unreal. I’m really thrilled to win my 21st world championship gold and am now looking forward to defending my snooker title over the next 10 days.