India is a country of champions, no matter what the field is Indians have always proved that they are equally competent, talented, and deserve to hold the title of World No.1. One such professional field is Snooker, though introduced by Britishers, Indian Snooker Players know how to ace the game. Here are the best billairds from India who have won several accolades and left forever marks in the international levels. They are ruling the world with their excellent billiards skill.
Best Indian Snooker Players
Pankaj Advani- The Prince Of India
Pankaj Advani is a synonym to Snooker. ” The Prince of Pune” had begun his professional journey in the year 2012 however he has been playing the game since 1999. The Arjuna Awardee won the first World Snooker Championship in 2003 at the age of 18. It was the tournament for amateur snooker players but Advani proved that he truly deserved to be World Champion when he beat the 6-time World Champion in the International Championship after few years.
Not just this, Pankaj won the title of World Champion 23 times and the team tournaments around 15 times. His achievements throughout his career gave him the nickname ” The Prince of India.” Besides these titles, Pankaj is also the recipient of the highest honor of sports i.e. Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna. He was also bestowed with Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan in 2009 and 2018 respectively.
Aditya Mehta- The Sun Of Indian Snooker
If Pankaj is The Prince then Aditya Mehta is The Sun of Indian Snooker. He had defeated Advani once in the tournament of Asian Snooker Championship 2012, the same year when Pankaj began his professional career.
The next year, Aditya clinched another milestone by beating Liang Wenbo in the Colombian World Games. He was the first from India to win a gold medal in the championship. He has proved many times that whenever it’s about being the first, there would be only one name, Aditya Mehta. One of the best Indian billiard players, Aditya made around 41-century breaks in his entire career and reached the highest ranking of 49 in the World list.
Vidya V Pillai- Queen of The Green
Snooker is not just a game of men, women from India have also made the country proud in World Championship. Vidya Pillai from Tamil Nadu is one such name who reached the finals of the WLBSA Championship. The Snooker Queen is the first female billiards player to do so however she couldn’t win the gold but she brought a silver medal for the country. Vidya has grabbed the National Championship Title 9 times and ranked 2nd in the list of the World’s best players.
Geet Sethi- The 90s Legend
Old is Gold and this professional snooker player of India always shines in the game. Geet Sethi won the first International Championship in 1982 and continued to win the title four times consecutively. He set a world record in 1992 by making a break of 1276 within 80 minutes. With this, Sethi grabbed the title of World Professional Billiards Championship and kept on winning till 2006 with gaps.
Geet was bestowed for his excellent achievements with awards like Arjuna Award, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, and K.K. Birla Award.
Yasin Merchant- Prince Of Snooker
Today the country has many best snooker players, but who was India’s First Professional Snooker Player? It was Yasin Merchant who has now retired from the game but is still known for his brilliant billiard skills. He held the title of Indian Snooker Champion for the years 1991, 2000, and 2001. Yasin has won several accolades and championships outside India, the memorable one is the junior national championship of the 80s that held in India and Pakistan.
He won in both lands, he again won the Masters Championship of Pakistan in 1989.
Yasin was the only torchbearer for the country during his time. At present, he coaches young snooker players in his academy.