“You are the best version of yourself! Nobody can BE you, better than YOU.”
- says Pankaj Advani, Indian billiards and snooker player
The words of a true professional from sports inspired our students that helped them wrestle through the challenges they face. The Prince of India, a.k.a The Golden Boy - Pankaj Advani served as a guest lecture at Oakridge, one of the best schools in Bengaluru on 5th March 2019 as part of a talk series called OAK INSPIREON. The series is an initiative by Oakridge to create a platform where experts from various fields interact with kids and inspire them. The students and teachers were mesmerized to see one of India’s most accomplished sportsman gave them insights on the entire spectrum of his life - from how much he adores his mother to what it meant to be a ‘World Champion’ at such a young age!
A recipient of the Arjuna Award, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Rana Award, the Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan, Pankaj Advani has achieved so much in such a short period. He is a 21-time World Champion and has achieved a hat-trick of hat-tricks in English billiards, holding the World, Asian, and Indian National Championship titles simultaneously, in three different years: 2005, 2008, 2012 and in 2017. Sharing his inspiration with the kids, Pankaj explains his experience and lessons he has learnt from sporting greats like Roger Federer. He also discussed why demonstrating humility and respect for others is more important than gold medals and awards. What one does off the field is as important as what one does on it – and, he pointed out, finding that balance defines one’s destiny. The entire auditorium was spellbound to listen to what it takes to stand up and be a super achiever in today’s world.
The students also had the opportunity to ask questions at the session to which Pankaj said, “I am extremely delighted to be part of very fun interaction with the children of Oakridge school and some of the teachers as well. The questions were very very deep, intelligent and thought-provoking and I hope that some of the children would learn a few things especially because I had a very long journey as a professional sportsperson and I feel like maybe some of my experiences can help them in the future. The hospitality has been great over here. I am really looking forward to coming back to the Oakridge school and hopefully introducing billiards and snooker some day here and try to get more people and more children from the wonderful school of yours to play these sports.”
"The session was so impactful that it left many of our children inspired and curious to know more about billiards and snooker, sports that do not often hog our mind space like the ever-popular cricket. To Karnataka’s homegrown hero, we wish him well. And we remain hopeful that everything Pankaj spoke to us about will inspire more Oakridgers to stand up, and stand tall in tomorrow’s world" says Hema Chenupatty.