March 11, 2018

Army edge out WAPDA to win National Baseball Championship 2018

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By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Pakistan Army edged out Pakistan WAPDA 8-6 in the final of the 23rd Khawar Shah National Baseball Championship 2018, held at Bahria Town, Lahore, under the auspices of the Pakistan Federation Baseball (PFB), on March 10.

Pakistan Army, Pakistan WAPDA and Pakistan clinched gold, silver and bronze medals respectively in the six-day event dedicated to the late Syed Khawar Shah, a former President of the federation in recognition of his monumental services to the game of baseball. 

The gold medal match consisted of nine innings. Saqib and Majeed scored two runs each for Army while Arsalan Jamshaid, Ubaidullah, Faqir Hussain and Nazir Ahmed contributed a run each. Arsalan Jamshaid, Faqir Hussain and Nazir Ahmed hit home runs for their team. 

For WAPDA Fazal ur Rehman and Zakir Afridi scored a couple of runs each, Burhan Johar and Zubair Nawaz contributed one run each while Zakir Afridi hit two home runs for his team. 

Lt. Gen. (Rtd.) Syed Arif Hassan, President, Pakistan Olympic Association (POA), was the chief guest in the final. He distributed medals among winners in the presentation ceremony. 

Shaukat Javed Chairman, PFB, Muhammad Khalid Mahmood, Secretary General, POA, Brig. Ghulam Jilani, Director, Army Sports, and Muhammad Jamil Ahmad Rana, Secretary General, Pakistan Tug of War Federation, were also present on the occasion. 

Syed Fakhar Ali Shah, President, PFB, and Executive Director, Bahria Town Lahore, welcomed the chief guest and other dignitaries. Brig. Ghulam Jilani awarded bronze medals to the Pakistan Police Team, Shaukat Javed presented silver medals to Pakistan WAPDA team and Lt Gen Syed Arif Hassan gave away gold medals and the championship trophy to Pakistan Army baseball team. 

Muhammad Usman, pitcher of Pakistan WAPDA, was adjudged Man of the Tournament award, named after Khawar Shah, and he received it from the chief guest. 

Talking to the media, Lt. Gen Arif Hassan, President, POA, appreciated the performance of both teams and desired that the Pakistan baseball team earned laurels for Pakistan from abroad. 

He reckoned that there was a marked improvement in the development of baseball in Pakistan under the supervision of new leadership. 

Syed Fakhar Ali Shah, President, PFB, informed that they will hold national training camp of the Pakistan baseball team at the Pakistan Sports Complex, Islamabad, to prepare for participation in Asian Games 2018 to be staged in Indonesia.

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March 8, 2018

Army, WAPDA enter final of National Baseball Championship 2018

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By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Pakistan Army and Pakistan WAPDA have qualified for the final of the 23rd Khawar Shah National Baseball Championship 2018, being held at Bahria Town, Lahore, under the auspices of the Pakistan Federation Baseball (PFB). 

The gold medal match will be taking place on March 10. Lt. Gen. (Rtd.) Syed Arif Hassan, President, Pakistan Olympic Association (POA), will be the chief guest in the final and distribute medals among winners in the presentation ceremony.

The six-day event has been dedicated to the late Syed Khawar Shah, a former President of the federation in recognition of his monumental services to the game of baseball. 

Meanwhile Pakistan Police secured bronze medal by defeating Punjab 10-0 in the playoff for third position. 

Atif, Yasir, Saleem Haider and Muzammil scored two runs each and Abdullah and Arfan contributed one run each for the winning side.

The Man of the Match award was clinched by Tariq Nadeem of Pakistan Police as he had pitched very well and did not allow the Punjab players to score any run against him. 

Syed Fakhar Ali Shah, President, PFB, and Director, Bahria Sports, was the chief guest on the fourth Day of the championship. Muhammad Mohsin Khan, Senior Vice President, PFB, welcomed the chief guest who was introduced to the players.

Earlier, a couple of matches were held on the third day. In the first game Pakistan Army trounced Pakistan Police 21-0. 

Faqir Hussain scored four runs while Arsalan Jamshaid, Ubaidullah and Muhammad Rafi scored three runs each, Hidayatullah, Saqib Khan and Mazhar scored two runs each and Nazir and Waseem contributed one run each. 

Pakistan WAPDA overcame Punjab 16-2 in the other match. For WAPDA Umair Bhatti score 4 runs, Zaheer topscored for WAPDA with three runs, Muhammad Waseem, Fazal-ur-Rehman and Zubair Nawaz scored two runs each and Sumair Zawar, Burhan Johar, Adnan Butt and Zakir Afridi contributed one run each. For Punjab, Usman and Usama score one run each. For WAPDA Umair Imdad Bhatti also hit a home run.

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March 7, 2018

National Baseball Championship 2018 underway in Lahore

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By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
 (Pakistan News & Features Services)

The 23rd Khawar Shah National Baseball Championship 2018 has got underway at Bahria Town, Lahore, being staged under the auspices of the Pakistan Federation Baseball (PFB). 

A couple of more matches were held on the second day of the six-day event. Idris Haider Khawaja, Secretary General, Punjab Olympic Association, was the chief guest on the second day of championship. 

According to the details made available by Shah Mazhar Ahmad, Secretary General, PFB, the chief guest upon his arrival was greeted by Syed Fakhar Ali Shah, President, PFB, before being introduced to the players.

The first match was played between FATA and KPK. It turned out to be a close encounter in which KPK edged out their opponents 9-8. 

Mansoor, Hameed and Faisal scored a couple of runs each while Waseem, Abid and Asim contributed a run apiece for the winning side. 

Irfan and Gohar kept FATA in the hunt by scoring two run each while Waheed, Nasim, Hazaratullah and Attaullah scored a run each. In the second match of the day, Punjab proved too good for KPK whipping them by a staggering margin of 12-0.

Ali Raza and Afraz played brilliantly for Punjab as they scored three runs each, Nasir score a couple runs while Asif, Zeeshan, Zeeshan Rasheed and Bilal contributed a run each. Ali Raza also hit a home run. 

On the third day of the competition, Pakistan Army was due to take on Pakistan Police while WAPDA will be up against Punjab in the second game to be held later in the afternoon. 

The national championship has been dedicated to the late Syed Khawar Shah, a former President of the federation in recognition of his unforgettable services to the game. 

Teams from Balochistan, KPK, Sindh, Punjab, FATA, Islamabad, Pakistan WAPDA, Pakistan Army, Pakistan Police and HEC are participating in the championship.

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March 5, 2018

National Baseball Championship 2018 dedicated to Khawar Shah

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By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The 23rd Khawar Shah National Baseball Championship 2018 is being organized by the Pakistan Federation Baseball (PFB) at Bahria Town, Lahore, from March 5 to 10.

Syed Fakhar Ali Shah, President, PFB, shared with the media that it’s the first national baseball championship to be held after the death of Syed Khawar Shah, a former President of the federation. 

“Khawar Shah was a towering and dedicated personality of sports in Pakistan who rendered meritorious services while in government service and also as an office bearer of various sports bodies. His final assignment was as the President of Pakistan Federation Baseball where he was responsible for lift the game to high standards in the last few years,” Fakhar Shah remarked. 

“In recognition of his unforgettable services to the game, the federation has renamed the national baseball championship as 23rd Khawar Shah National Baseball Championship being held at Aashiq Hussain Baseball Stadium in Lahore’s Bahria Town,” he disclosed. 

Teams from Baluchistan, KPK, Sindh, Punjab, FATA, Islamabad, Pakistan WAPDA, Pakistan Army, Pakistan Police and HEC are participating in the Championship. 

Meanwhile the manager’s meeting was chaired by Fakhar Shah prior to the start of the six-day event which was also attended by Muhammad Mohsin Khan, Senior Vice President PFB and Chairman, Organizing Committee, Jamil Kamran, Chairman, Technical Committee and Zafar Hussain Warraich, Organizing Secretary.

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February 23, 2018

Asghar Valika regrets loss of form of top cueists

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Chairman of the Pakistan Billiard & Snooker Association (PBSA), Ali Asghar Valika, the father figure of snooker in the country, has regretted the loss of form of some of the top cueists of the country and hoped that efforts will be made to keep them motivated and inspired.

In the next Board meeting he plans to propose to the PBSA Executive to take measures to ensure that the once leading cueists of the country continue performing more consistently. 

He was concerned with the loss of form the cueists Muhammad Sajjad and Shahid Aftab, both former champions, who performed much below par in the Jubilee Insurance 43rd National Snooker Championship 2018 held at the Karachi Gymkhana a few days ago. 

Asghar Valika, who revived the Pakistan snooker while leading the PBSA from 1988 to 2008, didn’t mince words in stating that he was not impressed with the performance of the eventual champion (Muhammad Asif) either. 

“I have a feeling that Asif couldn’t reproduce the form which had made him the world champion in 2012 and the national champion earlier the same year,” he observed.

“The youngsters like Asif, Sajjad, Shahid and a few others had first come into prominence when I was heading the Association. They had shown flashes of brilliance in early career and we took care of them to boost their confidence and skills. They have repaid by having performed well internationally over the years but now some chinks in their armoury are becoming visible,” the PBSA Chairman added. 

“Now the time has come for the management to talk to them and take care of their needs. Personally I feel that they would become much more productive if mentored by prolific coaches. They are blessed with talent and experience but they do need guidance and direction,” he explained.

“While it’s very heartening that the youngsters are emerging from every nook and corner of the country to challenge the top cueists of the country but we must not lose sight of the fact that the current lot of experienced cueists have brought us laurels in the recent past. They deserve to be looked after properly,” Asghar Valika felt. 

He was optimistic that the present leadership of the PBSA, which was eager to further promote cue sports in the country, will take remedial measures without further delay.

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Muhammad Asif recaptures national snooker crown after six years

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Muhammad Asif, a former world champion, recaptured the crown after six years as he edged out Muhammad Bilal in an epic final of the Jubilee Insurance 43rd National Snooker Championship 2018 at the Karachi Gymkhana on February 21.

As expected, the all-Punjab final between the two of the top cueists of the country progressed at a brisk pace with both the combatants displaying aggressive mindset to surge ahead.

It was anybody’s game, locked up at five-all, when third seed Bilal suffered a stroke of misfortune in the 11th frame and second seed Asif made the most of it by pressing home the advantage. 

Having won the national title in 2009 and 2012, Asif made the most of the lucky break in the best of 15-frame final to win it 8-5 with the scores of 83-10, 69-48, 76-19, 12-78, 28-93, 0-87, 57-77, 68-9, 79-34, 8-87, 75-51, 69-40, 66-37. The match was supervised by the eminent referee, Shabbir Hussain Daruwala.

Asif conceded that the rub of the green had gone his way in the final and he was extremely fortunate to get the opening in the 11th frame caused by an unexpected error from Bilal, who was also playing extremely well until that stage. 

The 35-year-old Asif, hailing from the industrial city of Faisalabad, felt relieved at winning the national title for the time in an illustrious career during which he also won the World Championship in 2012. 

“Bilal was a constant threat to me throughout the match and I had to play my top game to remain in business. It was a kind of encounter which was thoroughly enjoyed by the spectators as well as the large television audience watching it live,” he said. 

The 32-year-old Bilal, a proud product of Mandi Bahauddin, was aiming to the national title for the second time, having annexed it in 2016. He seemed on course of achieving his ambition but the mishap of 11th frame proved decisive and he was unable to pull it back.

Asif drew the first blood with the help of a break of 83 and then made it 3-0 by pocketing the next two frames as well. 

The breaks of 63, 60, 57 and 77 in successive frames allowed Bilal to go into 4-3 lead which was equalized by Asif with the help of a break of 61 in the eighth frame. 

The momentum was with Asif and he cashed in with another break of 79 in the ninth frame to go 5-4 up. Bilal, however, drew level by chalking up a break of 87 in the next frame. 

Bilal could not get back into game once he lost the 11th frame in which one of his shots proved fatal. Asif not only won that frame but also the next two to reclaim the trophy in style. 

Cash prizes of Rupees three lacs were disbursed in the presentation ceremony held soon after the final. Asif collected the glittering trophy with a purse of Rs 100,000 from chief guest Tahir Ahmed, Managing Director, Jubilee General Insurance, while Bilal received an award of Rs 50,000. 

The welcome speech was delivered by Munawwar Hussain Shaikh, President, Pakistan Billiard & Snooker Association (PBSA), while the activity report was presented by Alamgir Anwar Shaikh, Co-Chairman, PBSA. Other members of the PBSA Executive Committee present on the occasion included Zulfiqar Ramzi (Secretary), Arif Taherbhoy (Joint Secretary), Shariq Vohra, Nisar Bhagat and Rasheed Jumbo.

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February 14, 2018

Cueist Bahadur Ali penalized for violating anti-smoking laws

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Unseeded Bahadur Ali entered the record books as he became the first cueist to be penalized for violating the recently inducted anti-tobacco law imposed by the Pakistan Billiards & Snooker Association (PBSA). 

“Bahadur Ali of Balochistan was found smoking during his match against Qadeer Abbas and he was penalized and game was awarded to his opponent as per law. The match at that stage was tied at one frame all and the final result was declared as 4-1 in favour of Qadeer Abbas,” Tournament Director, Naveed Kapadia, revealed at the Karachi Gymkhana on February 14. 

“The PBSA has imposed the restriction from the new year in accordance with the directives of the International Billiards & Snooker Federation (IBSF) and the Asian Confederation of Billiards Sports (ACBS) which prohibits the cueists from smoking tobacco during the course of a match. All the participating cueists of the ongoing Jubilee Insurance 43rd National Snooker Championship 2018 were very much informed about it and this clause was included in the contract which they have signed with the PBSA,” he explained.

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Snooker’s strongman Arif Taherbhoy turns 68

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The long serving official of the Pakistan Billiards & Snooker Association (PBSA), Arif Taherbhoy, was feted in a unique manner as his colleagues and friends arranged an unannounced birthday party of his on the sidelines of the Jubilee Insurance 43rd National Snooker Championship 2018 at the Karachi Gymkhana on February 14.

Taherbhoy, having turned 68, was lavishly praised by the top functionaries of the PBSA who had gathered in the afternoon to celebrate the occasion rather enthusiastically. 

The PBSA Joint Secretary cut the birthday cake in the company of Munawwar Hussain Shaikh, President PBSA, and Zulfiqar Ramzi, Honorary Secretary, PBSA, in the presence of other board members which included international referee Shabbir Hussain Daruwala. 

“Arif Bhai has served the PBSA with distinction since 1989. So it has been more than quarter of a century, 29 years to be precise. He deserves to be recognized time and again for his dedication and services,” the PBSA President noted. 

The unheralded Taherbhoy indeed has been one of the pillars of the Pakistan snooker for the past three decades and his role in the snooker development of Pakistan has been quite significant.



Upon joining the PBSA in 1989 at the behest of Ali Asghar Valika, who was on a mission to revive snooker in Pakistan, he was initially assigned the task of coordination with media but at later stage he was entrusted the responsibilities of managing the day to day affairs of the body’s secretariat which he has run for close to three decades.

 An active cueist himself since student life, Taherbhoy had played snooker, mostly at Bohra Gymkhana and Karachi Club during the days when the great Latif Amir Bakhsh was at the peak of his career whith his biggest accomplishment being making it to the final of the Wahedna Gold Cup Inter-Clubs Tournament in 1972.

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