Bengaluru/Doha, November 7: Defending champion Pankaj Advani will resume his rivalry with English legend Mike Russell in the IBSF World Billiards Championship's 150-up format, which begins in Doha on Thursday (November 9).
Advani and Russell have waged many battles in the past including the 2010 and 2011 final (points) where the Englishman had the measure over the ace Indian cueist.
Advani had turned the tables on Russell in the 2012 final (timed format) and the battle between the duo promises to be an exciting one in the Qatari capital.
Advani is drawn in Group A along with compatriot Brijesh Damani, Syria's Abdulkarim Maksoud and Myanmar's Aung Htay.
Russell is pitted along with India's Rupesh Shah and Dhvaj Haria, Ireland's Aidan Murray and Syria's Yazan Alhadad in Group C.
The other big name for the tournament which ends on November 12 is Singapore-based Peter Gilchrist whom Advani beat in the last year's final in Bengaluru.
Gilchrist is drawn in B that features India's Dhruv Sitwala, England's Robert Hall, Myanmar's Chit Ko Ko and home hope Khamis Al Obaidly.
The other two Indians - Sourav Kothari and Siddarth Parikh are in Group D that also includes Australia's Steve Misfud and Myanmar's Nay Thway.
Advani and Russell, who was based in Qatar for a long time as the national team's coach may not meet till the knockout phase though.
After the conclusion of the points format, the time format gets underway from November 13.
The Qatar Billiards and Snooker Federation (QBSF) is also hosting the World Snooker Championship which begins from November 17 at the Al Arabi Sports Club's Indoor Hall.
Advani, who has won world titles in both snooker and billiards said he was looking forward to the challenge of playing playing back-to-back world championships in for the first time.
"I've never entered back-to-back snooker and billiards events at a World Championship before. I've done it at the Senior Nationals, but this is quite different. It is going to be a challenge, but I'm looking forward to it," Advani said.
The QBSF had hosted the snooker Worlds last year as well. It is for the first time that the federation is hosting back-to-back world championships in snooker and billiards and the organisers exuded confidence.
"We're glad to welcome the snooker fraternity back to Doha again. We're also honoured to have the billiards World Championship along with this. Though we were given the invitation to host both the events at a short notice, we're ready for it. We believe all players will have a wonderful time here," said QBSF President Mohammed Mubarak Al Ramzani.