It wasn’t easy to win: Pankaj

first_imgPankaj Advani came in for lavish praise from none other than former billiards champion Peter Gilchrist after he won the gold medal in the Asian Games.Pankaj wins billiards gold and Alok Kumar gets bronze in 8-ball pool event.English born Gilchrist chose to represent Singapore in the Asian Games and won bronze on Sunday but at the post medal ceremony press conference, he was effusive in his praise.”India has produced billiards champions before. From Wilson Jones to Michael Ferreira and then Geet Sethi, it has been an evolution. But I have no hesitation in saying that at a young age, Pankaj has achieved so much and is the best,” said Gilchrist.Advani, not the sort of sportsperson who speaks too much, chose to pour his heart out. “I have had a tough year and the mental pressure on me to win today was immense.The Asian Games gold medal means the world to me. For me, it is like the Olympics as our sport is not in the Olympics,” said Advani.Speaking about his roller-coaster ride in the tournament, Advani summed it up well. “For purists like me, the 100- point format is not easy. I wasn’t in great form but I kept hanging in. I am happy that rather than play exceedingly well and not win, it is better to be in there and still win,” said Advani.Elaborating on the event, he said: “I feel my opponent was unlucky towards the end.” Asked if this was one of the toughest finals he had played, Advani said: “I think in terms of responsibility of winning a gold medal for India, this was big. When you are destined to win, you win, and I am not complaining about it,” said Advani, who was defending his gold medal.advertisementAdvani said the toilet break after the third frame was indeed welcome. “I had to answer nature’s call. Once I returned it went my way,” said Advani, who had to go for the mandatory dope test.Coach Manoj Kothari summed up Advani’s performance in simple words. “The Indian billiards players have struggled in the point format. I am very happy Pankaj has won gold after a tough year,” said Kothari.last_img