Alok Kumar new Billiards hero in 2011

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New Delhi: Seasoned campaigner Alok Kumar was the cynosure of all eyes with his Asian Billiards title but overall it was an average year for Indian cue sports as success eluded the country at the major international events.

Alok blanked Praput Chaithanasukan of Thailand 6-0 to win the coveted Asian billiards title in April at the Olympic Stadium of Kish Island in Iran.

He, thus, became the first player to achieve the rare feat of winning both the Billiards and Snooker Asian title.

Earlier back in 2004 in Jordan, Alok lifted the Asian Snooker title by defeating compatriot Pankaj Advani in the finals.

In March, Alok had won the 8-ball and 9-ball National Pool titles by defeating compatriots Sumit Talwar and Rafath Habib respectively.

Seven-time World champion Pankaj Advani was the biggest disappointment this year as he failed to lift even a single international title.

The last international event in which Advani appeared was the IBSF World Snooker Championship in Bangalore where he made a shocking exit in the semifinal after being defeated 1-7 by Lee Walker of Wales.

In the World Professional Billiards Championship in Leeds, Advani lost to defending champion Mike Russell of England 1012-1250 in the semifinal, whereas in the IBSF World Billiards Championship (Point Format) in August, the Indian faltered at the final hurdle and went down 3-6 to 10-time World champion Russell in Carlow, Ireland.

In the Asian Snooker Championship held at Indore, Advani finished as semifinalist, while in the Asian Billiards Championship at Iran, he exited in the quarterfinals.

Despite not being able to win a single international title, the Bangalore-boy is not doubting his self abilities and said he just needs to improve his technique and concentration level before getting back to winning ways.

"You can`t win gold every time, even a silver is good enough. So there is nothing wrong in the fact that I have not won any international championship this year. I am not at all doubting my self abilities. It`s just a matter of time before I get back to winning ways," Advani said.

"It`s just that I need to bring in some changes in technique. I need to improve my concentration level, mental and physical fitness. I still have enough energy left in me," said Advani, the first cueist ever to have achieved the "Grand Double" by winning the IBSF World Billiards Championships in time and points format.

However, at the National level, Advani won the billiards title by defeating compatriot B Bhaskar 5-1 while surrendering his snooker crown to PSPB`s Alok Kumar 2-5 in the quarterfinals.

Advani was not the only disappointment this year as most other Indian cueists also failed to register any major success at international competitions.

In the Asian 6-Red Snooker Championship in Thailand, Kamal Chawla finished as semifinalist while Brijesh Damani exited in the quarterfinals.

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