Pankaj Advani


Born in Pune on 24 July 1985, Pankaj spent the first five years of his life in Kuwait with his parents; Arjan (who sadly passed away when Pankaj was just six years old), his mother Kajal and elder brother Shree. The family migrated to Bangalore at the onset of the Gulf War and has resided here ever since. 

Pankaj and Shree studied at the Frank Anthony Public School, Bangalore and both went on to become Head Boys of the school. Friends remember Pankaj as being too soft-hearted to report students to the principal when they, for instance, forgot to wear their house-badges. Instead, he would give them money to quickly buy the badges from the school shop. Given that Pankaj used to occasionally miss important school functions & events such as Annual Day or Sports Day due to his tournaments, it is a testament to the school's administration that they allowed him to purse his natural ability while simultaneously ensuring he did well academically. A delicate balancing act proven by the fact that despite being busy competing at the 2002 Asian Games in Korea, Pankaj was able to pass with distinction in both the ICSE and ISC board exams. He now holds a Bachelor Degree in Commerce from SBM Jain College. 

But how did Pankaj begin his foray into the world of cue sport? He did it at the age of ten, courtesy his brother Shree, whom he would accompany to the snooker parlour close to their house every day after school. For a few weeks, he just watched Shree play with his friends, then one day he begged to be allowed to play. On his very first attempt, he pocketed the red ball and from then on, he was hooked on to the game. The following year, he won his first State title by beating his brother-cum-mentor in the finals.

During his first media interaction ever, Pankaj, on being asked what he wanted to become when he grew up, replied, "A businessman." Then, as an afterthought, added, "I would also like to be a world champion." Innocent words that became reality in less than 8 years!

Such are the ways of the Power of Attraction that world-renowned Snooker wizard Arvind Savur spotted his talent at a young age and took him under his wing. Blessed with passion, natural ability and dedication for the sport, Pankaj sent out a warning signal to all Indian and International players of his arrival on the scene. Mr. Savur, the father of modern snooker, promised the family that he would make Pankaj a world champion, but he too was pleasantly surprised by what was to come when Pankaj went on to win the Men's World Snooker Championship in China at the age of 18, the first of his 21-World Titles.