4th Asian Billiards C’ship
Thailand's Praput prevails in crucial semi final
By M. Shamil Amit
It was a disappointing day for Indian billiards fans as they came to witness the crucial semi-final anticipating their favourite Ashoka Shandilya to overcome Thailand's Chaithanaskun Praput to make it an All Indian final at the 4th Asian Billiards Championship. But it was not to be as Praput playing a cool and calculated game turned the tide in his favour by defeating Shandilya (who has beaten him in five of the matches the two has played in) by four frames to two to enter the final of the 4th Asian Billiards Championships at the PYC Hindu Gymkhana in Pune, India.

Praput's win was a creditable achievement as Shandilya had earlier defeated him 3-0 in a round robin game. Shandilya the 2003 World and Asian billiards champion was only a shadow of himself. Though he won the first frame 101-9 the Thai came back to win the second and third frames 101-80 and 101-63 and the Indian made it 2-2 by taking the fourth frame 100-23 .break of 100-22 to seal the seven frame game in his favour. Thus he booked a berth to clash with Pankaj Advani in the final.

The 4th Asian Billiards Championship is organized by the Billiards and Snooker Association of Maharashtra with 19 players participating from India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmara, Singapore, Pakistan and Korea. The Indians fielded seven players of whom five advanced to the quarter finals. The shock of the championship was the elimination of defending champion Devendra Goshi who was defeated by compatriot and seven times world billiard champion Geeth Sethi, being beaten by Thailand's Praput. The two Sri Lankans - K.H. Sirisoma and W.A.J. Weerasinghe - failed to go beyond the round robin stage.

The nine frame final is expected to be a thriller with the 1999 world billiards champion Chaithanaskun Praput requiring all his tricks to get the better of the 2003 world billiards champion and the man in form - Pankaj Advani.


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