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Sports code must give priority to athletes, says ace cueist Advani



Kolkata, Jan 3: Hot on the heels of the developments surrounding cricket in India, sixteen-time world champion in cuesports Pankaj Advani said on Tuesday that any sports code would only yield results if athletes and measures to support them are given importance.

"The world's sports policy needs to be centred on the athletes and their requirements. Only then will it be successful," Advani said on the sidelines of the 3rd Kolkata Open National Invitation Snooker Championship 2017 at the Bengal Rowing Club.

Talking about the country's performance in the Rio Olympics, Advani, who ended the year 2016 on a high by bagging the national title in 6-red Snooker, the shorter format of the game, said: "In our country we give much greater importance to results in quadrennial events like the Olympics than to consistent performance at world events."

"Celebration of person finishing fourth or winning a bronze in Olympics is much more than a multiple world title or someone who has won a medal no one else has." 

"Definitely I feel there is a big difference in the way we celebrate achievement in quadrennial events compared to those in year in and year out. This is our perception," Advani, who also won the IBSF World Billiards Championship (point format) event in Bengaluru last month, said.

Advani is the only player in the world to win all titles — National, Continental and World — in 6-red Snooker. 

On his debut, the ace cueist won the IBSF World 6-red Snooker Championship in Egypt in 2014 and successfully defended it the following year.

Speaking about his 16th World Championship title, he said he was looking forward to the 2017 season. 

"I enjoy my game and would like to keep playing as long as possible."

Aditya Mehta, the country's only professional snooker player and the current national champion, said he was looking to improve on his world ranking this year but rued that given the state of cuesports in the country, it would perhaps take 10-15 years to come up to international standards in the professional circuit.

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