An interview of 15th World Snooker Champion PANKAJ ADVANI with a student of VIth name – MS. VASUNDHARA SHRINIVAS DEMPO, a student of Sharada Mandir School, Goa.
Q: How old were you when you began to play billiards and snooker?
At the age of 10, I was introduced to the game by my older brother Shree. I used to follow him to the snooker parlor every day after school finished. It has been almost 20 years now in this game and I continue to enjoy playing it!
Q: Do you have a hero in the world of sport? Who is the champion you model yourself on?
Yes, I do have a hero! His name is Roger Federer. In my opinion, he is the epitome of grace, class, elegance, style and humility. Probably one of the greatest of all time in the world of sport. Can’t find a better role model than him.
Q: Who or what inspires you to do your best?
My brother Shree is a sports psychologist and he has helped me evolve as a sportsperson over a long period of time. He has inspired me to believe that one must never give up till the end of a game, even if the chips are down. My coach Arvind Savur has taught me the tricks of the trade and made me the player I am today. I am forever indebted to them for their contribution to my success.
Q: Did you have a favorite subject in school or in your later studies?
Commerce is something I loved since I am a fan of theoretical subjects! I remember scoring 93 on 100 once in it so I was not bad at all!
Q: Did your favorite subject help you in your sport in any way?
When you excel in anything, it gives you the confidence, the ability to believe that yes, I can achieve great things outside of it as well. In a way, commerce helped me to think positive and think right.
Q: You are the holder of world titles in billiards and snooker an awesome 15 times. What was your vision when you began competing? What else are you looking to achieve?
I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would win 15 World Titles when I started my career in cue sport. I enjoy competing at the highest level, improving myself after every game and most importantly, love what I do. Rewards, recognition and fame are all bi-products of success.
Q: How much of a role do parents or siblings play in the life of a sports achiever? What role have they played in your success?
Family support is extremely crucial to the development of an athlete in the formative years. Fortunately, I have enjoyed tremendous support from my mom and brother in my journey as a cueist. I am thankful to them for allowing me to pursue my passion and making a career out of my hobby.
Q: You surely have a holiday spot you like to relax in. Which one is it?
I love Goa! I feel very relaxed over there when I interact with the locals as everyone seems to be so calm. The resorts, beaches and entertainment make it a perfect place to unwind and have a fun-filled holiday.
Q: How do you relax?
I travel a lot so when I come back after a long trip, I spend quality time with family and near and dear ones. I like watching movies and also working out to remain healthy.
Q: Have you read a book recently that you have liked? What impression did it make on you?
Not much of a reader really but I enjoy reading spiritual books every now and then.
Q: Would you have any advice to youngsters like me who are serious about sports?
If you love playing a sport, take it up. It may not become your career but it teaches you a lot about handling defeats with grace and being humble when you win. It is a great way to be transported to another world.( provided you are focused! ). Don’t think about the money, name or fame while you play a competitive sport. Love, passion and the hunger to excel are things that really matter.