Pankaj Advani will skip this year’s Billiards and Snooker National Championship to be held in Gwalior from January 26 to Febraury 16 in order to participate in the Welsh Open Snooker qualifiers in Sheffield from February 6.
“It’s a conscious decision I’ve taken to concentrate on snooker. I know it’ll be tough being in London for so long but it’s an experiment that I want to try,” said the 27-year-old Bangalorean who skipped the prestigious International Snooker Championship to compete in the World Billiards Championships last October and went on to win it.
Advani added that he might also skip an international billiards event and participate in the season-ending World Snooker Championship in April. He won the tournament in 2003 in China as an 18-year-old, to become the youngest Indian to lift the title.
The winner of eight World titles turned professional in snooker last year and will have to play the Welsh qualifiers to get into the final draw.
“These are starting years for me in snooker again. It has always been difficult for Asians to go to England and play professional snooker but I’m up for the challenge,” Advani said.
He admitted that playing both billiards and snooker will be tough. “I’ll concentrate on snooker for at least two years in England. However, at some stage after that, I’ll have to decide and take a call on playing either one,” he said.