Having reached the pinnacle of his career at just 20,
India's new Khel Ratna Pankaj Advani said he will start a new journey to
excellence from here.
Advani remarked he will take cue from previous winners of this highest sporting honour like Sachin Tendulkar who scaled greater heights after bagging the award in 1997-1998.
"Before me Sachin Tendulkar and Abhinav Bindra got this award at a very young age and they reached new heights after that. I will also build on this achievement knowing well that expectations are going to increase," Advani said in an interview.
The Bangalore player has established his supremacy in cue sports by bagging the world snooker and billiards titles but he is not prepared to rest on his laurels and is already planning to undergo a training stint in England.
"There is going to be pressure on me but at the moment I am enjoying this moment and will cherish it for a long time. It is a personal high and definitely a big boost.
"This is the trophy every sportsperson wants on his board," said the player who led the Indian team to the final of the World Snooker Team Championship in USA.
Only the second cueist to receive the honour after Geet Sethi, Advani said he would also look to improve his technique.
"I have the best coach in Arvind Savur but I will be training in England for sometime before the Asian Games," Advani said.
Asked about the secret behind his success so far, the cueist said he managed to keep a poker face during matches.
"I keep my face completely expression-less so my opponent is never able to understand what I am up to next and that gives me an edge," he said.
Advani's psychologist Pavan Choudary said "Pankaj is one-man orchestra. He is a very good role model for the youth because he is a good player, good student, good son and above all a good person."
Advani believes the basic inspiration for youth would come only when more number of domestic tournaments are introduced.
"I may be looked up to but we need more number of domestic tournaments as we have enough international tournaments in a year," he said.
The ONGC player, who has finished his bachelors course in commerce and will pursue a post-graduate diploma in the subject, said he would do his bit for the game.
"I want to give back to the game which has given me so much in last 10 years. I will be a part of a school programme in which I will play in the schools to generate interest for the game," he said.