Thanks to their rich medal haul in the Guangzhou Asian Games, cueists Pankaj Advani, Alok Kumar and Yasin Merchant, among others, were on Sunday honoured at a felicitation programme organised by the Billiards & Snooker Federation of India (BSFI) and Karnataka State Billiards Association (KSBA).
Advani was awarded a cheque of Rs 1.5 lakh for winning the billiards gold; Aditya Mehta, Brijesh Damani and Yasin Merchant walked away with Rs 75,000 for securing silver in the snooker team event, while Aditya Mehta (snooker singles) and Alok Kumar (8 ball pool) pocketed Rs 25,000 each for bagging bronze. Damani was not present because he was indisposed.
Merchant dedicated the medal to KSBA and expressed gratitude for the preparatory camp, which helped the team perform better in Guangzhou.
He said the camp was of "highest order", "perfectly and methodically organised".
Merchant also said that Kumar was a revelation in the Games. "Alok Kumar's medal was bigger than all of ours," he said, a view echoed by Advani.
"I totally agree Alok's performance stood out in the cue sports," Advani said while pointing out that Kumar beat a world champion and a "guy" who played pool all his life, and winning a bronze in a tough draw was creditable.