India’s national billiards team represented their nation well on Independence Day, as the ‘B’ team led by Pankaj Advani won gold as the ‘A’ team secured the silver medal at the first ever World Billiards Team Championship.
The ‘B’ team, in this case the winning team, was made up of Advani, Rupesh Shah, Devendra Joshi and Ashok Shandilya. This group was able to just get by the other national side of India ‘A’ 5-4 to ultimately win the top honors.
The finals match featured a best-of-nine contest with three rounds of 60-minute matches. The matches went down to the final moment as Alok Kumar, B Bhaskar, Sourav Kothari and Dhruv Sitwala put up quite a fight. Team ‘A’ actuallyled 2-1 in the series before the Advani-led team decided to take it for themselves.
“Winning a gold for India on Independence Day is a dream come true,” Advani said. “We could not have asked for a better outcome as both teams confirmed gold and silver for our beautiful country.”
For Advani, however, this victory was somehow even more memorable. It was his tenth world title, a figure no other Indian athlete has yet reached.
“Ten is a number beyond my wildest imagination,” Advani said with passion. “This one is special for a couple of reasons. One, of course is because it’s the 10th, and two, it’s my first team world title and playing with fellow Indians is a special feeling. “Rupesh, Ashok, Joshi and I bonded well and believed we had what it took to click as a unit and get the job done.
Our team had tons of experience but of course our biggest challenge came from our own colleagues in India A. Credit to them to make the final as interesting as it could possibly get. Congratulations to all the Indian cueists for having a fantastic outing in this championship.”