India's leading cueist Pankaj Advani has claimed 25 World titles and the 25th one came outclassing compatriot Sourav Kothari 4-0 in the 150 up billiards final at the World Championships last year. To be winning 25 World Titles over a long career spanning over two decades speaks volumes about Pankaj's dedication, passion and longevity. And the best part is he remembers winning each title.
"Honestly at the start of my career, when I was 10 years old if someone had come and told me that you will end up winning this many world titles, Asian Games gold. I would just turn around and say are you kidding me. But what I have realized along this journey is, it isn't about the destination really. I have seen many athletes fail during tough moments in career where the focus has been more on the outcome and result what comes with it. If you really stay in the present and break it down to smaller moments and enjoy each and every phase not because of the outside factors, " said Pankaj Advani on Backstage with Boria Season 4.
To add to his illustrious wardrobe of world titles Pankaj Advani is also a two-time Asian Games gold medallist, Doha in 2006 as well as Guangzhou in 2010. The veteran cueist could have picked any sport but he chose billiards and snooker.
"Why did I take up this sport, I was reasonably good at tennis ball cricket, badminton and table tennis but this sport had something more to it. I was obsessed with it and I still not let go of the passion. It's just the joy of the game that keeps me going, " added Advani.
The 37-year-old is also honoured with the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award, Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan for his consistent performance in cue sports. His hunger to achieve more makes him unique and his ability to handle pressure over two decades and still perform stands out.
Talking about handling pressure for the last two decades, Pankaj said, "It isn't easy as there is expectation from the people and more dangerously yourself. When you manage to handle your own expectation then it doesn't really matter what happens outside. It's all in the background and what you are actually doing it on the table is what really matters the most. We all want to do well; we all want to win. There is a very fine line between hunger and desperation. My hunger is there for the last 20-25 years but my hunger to excel has been the main key to success. It's not possible to win every tournament you participate in as a human being. It's the joy of the game that keeps pushing me to be a better player every single day. My brother Shree Advani who is a sports psychologist has contributed immensely in my career."(ANI)