Renowned billiards player Pankaj Advani has lamented the lack of the involvement of sportsperson in the formulation of sports policy. The cueist insisted that India has yet to reach to a position where they can make athletes the focal point in the process of the formulation of the sports policy.
The Arjuna Award winner also spoke to PTI regarding his recent meeting with the Union Sports Minister Vijay Goel, where the duo conversed about the problems as it related to the Sports Authority of India.
“ All I can tell you is that sportsperson has to be the center of focus in sports policy and in India we have not reached that stage.”
The billiardist also illustrated the point that the athletes often at times have to voluntarily seek out the people in charge for variety of issues instead of concentrating on their game.
“Lot of times, athletes have to go after authorities and chase them whereas they should be left alone to concentrate on their game. There should be others to facilitate whether it’s the federation or the SAI or the coaches. We are yet to reach that stage.”
The 16-time World Champion was also asked to elaborate on the topics he discussed pertaining to the Sports Authority of India (SAI) with the Union Sports Minister but he refused to disclose the details. He did reveal, however, that Goel promised assistance and there will be further communication between Advani and Goel’s office to further the process.
Advani also divulged that he has sought Goel’s help to co-ordinate with the Indian Olympic Association to pitch the idea of making cue sports a part of the Olympics. The cue sports are already included in the Asian Games but Advani feels that the sports, which have the potential to boost India’s chances of bringing home medals, need concerted effort to be included as the part of the Olympic Games.
Advani has climbed every possible mountain top in snooker and billiards but he still feels that sports provide him with the escape that he needs, keep the competitive fire in him burning and motivate him to keep performing at the highest level by providing him with a means of expression. He also articulates that all of those things cannot be measured in mere statistics such as number of wins and number of titles.
“Definitely there are times when you feel complacent. There are times, I tell myself, what I have achieved is enough in life. Just take it easy. I go back to the reason why I started playing the sport. It is because I loved playing it and I loved competing. It gives me a reason to look forward to something every day. It’s not about results, stats — just probably a simple fact that I want to go out there and express myself. Because it transports me to another world free of my worries”