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Indian trio in knockout stage

New Delhi: All three male Indian cueists stormed into the knockout stage of the world snooker championship in Jiangmin (China) on Tuesday. Pankaj Advani, former Asian champion Yasin Merchant and Alok Kumar won eight matches each out of a possible 10 in their respective groups to make the last 32, according to information received here.

The cueists have been divided into eight groups of 11 players each, with only the top four making it to the knockout stage.

On Tuesday, Advani defeated Viliame Umu (Fiji) 4-0 to finish third in group C, while Merchant blanked Gitsue Lum (Fiji) to be second in group F.

Alok, who lost to group leader Brendan O’Donoghue (Ireland) 3-4 in his last league tie, finished second in group G.

In women’s competition, which has been introduced for the first time to enhance the International Billiards and Snooker Federation’s chances of having cue sports included in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the last-32 stage has been reached.

National champion Vidya Pillai, who finished with four wins in seven matches in group A. Chitra Maginairajan came fourth in group C with an identical record. R. Uma Devi finished sixth in group D after managing just three wins. (PTI)

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