Pankaj Arjan Advani is India's finest billiards and snooker player. Pankaj was born on July 24, 1985, in Pune, Maharashtra. It was his elder brother Dr. Shree Advani who introduced Pankaj to the sport and then he came to the notice of Arvind Savur, former national snooker champion, at the age of ten. Pankaj was just 12 when he won his first-ever title. He then went on to set many records at the state and national level.

Regarded as one of the finest sportspersons in India, Pankaj has won gold medals at the Asian Games. As Pankaj turns 35, we take a look at some facts associated with the billiards and snooker champion of India.

    • Pankaj won his first National Juniors Billiards championship in 2000. He won it in 2001 and 2003 as well.
    • Pankaj won the All India Junior Snooker Championship in 2003, making him the youngest champion in the tournament's history.
    • Pankaj is the only player to have won all national, regional and world titles in a single season. In 2005 he won the junior and senior national tournaments, the Asian Billiards Championships and the World Championships (time and point format).
    • Pankaj won the WPBSA (World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association), IBSF World Billiards title and the IBSF World Snooker Championships in the same year twice, in 2009 and 2012.
    • In 2016, Pankaj won the Asian 6-Red Snooker title. He became the first player to win both the world and Asian titles.
    • He has won Gold medal in 2006 and 2010 Asian Games. Both his medals came in English Billiards Singles events.

The billiards and snooker player is the recipient of Arjuna Award (2004), Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna (2006), Padma Shri (2009) and Padma Bhushan (2018). In 2003, he won the Indo-American Young Achiever's Award. He also received Ekalavya Award, Karnataka's highest sporting honour, in 2007

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jul 24, 2020 08:00 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website