Guangzhou: India opened their account in the cue sports with defending champion Pankaj Advani winning the gold in the men’s English billiards singles while Alok Kumar had to be content with a bronze in the 8-ball pool singles after losing his semifinal contest to Po-Cheng Kuo of Chinese Taipei 5-7 at the Asian Games here Sunday.
Advani retained his title, beating Myanmar’s OO Nay Thway Oo 33-100, 100-61, 12-101, 101-4, 100-45 in a thrilling contest at the Asian Games Town Gymnasium.
Later, Alok, who had defeated Ricky Yang of Indonesia 7-4 in the morning for the place in the semis, went down to Po-Cheng Kuo 5-7 in the last four stage.
Advani had to battle it out with Thway Oo to retain the title he won at the Doha Games four years ago. The Bangalorean lost the opening and third frames before regaining his touch to put it across the Maynmarian 33-100, 100-61, 12-101, 101-4, 100-45.
Advai, who earlier in the day defeated another Myanmarese OO Kyaw Oo for a spot in the final, started slowly in the summit, but bounced back to win the title.
He had earlier expressed reservations about the shortened format and said “there is no room for mistakes and the format comes across like T10 cricket where anything can happen”. And he did just that in the remaining two frames.
“I took a break when I was 1-2 down and heard that we have won another silver. And If I lose it will be the third one. I told myself ‘No, not again’. I decided to hang in there. I was sure that everything will work out well,” the world champion said.
“After the break, everything worked well for me. He had two-three chances at 2-2 to close the match which he did not take. I got one opportunity in the final frame and I made the most of it.”
“There are times when you need to take that extra risk. I took calculated risks and it paid off in the end.”
Advani said he made a heavy weather of the contest which he should have won hands down.
“I have seen that whenever I think that I should win easily, I run into trouble. I was looking at the crowd and thinking they would be lauhging at us for missing easy shots.”
Sumit Talwar lost to Irsal Afrinneza Nasution of Indoensia 4-7 in the qutarfinal of the men’s 8-ball pool singles.
At the Doha Asian Games, India had won one gold, one silver and two bronze medals.