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The New Jubilee Insurance (NJI), having become the major sponsors of the national cue sports tournaments, have offered to take care of an international snooker event later this year.
Tahir Ahmed, Managing Director, NJI, made the offer to the cash-starved Pakistan Billiards Snooker Association (PBSA), during the launching ceremony of the NJI 35th National Snooker Championship 2010 held at the Karachi Gymkhana Banquet Hall on February 25.
“It’s very heartening to note that NJI and snooker have become synonymous and we are encouraged to extend greater support to cue sports. We are prepared to sponsor an international snooker tournament in the second half of the current year whenever the PBSA is ready,” he offered.
The generous offer of Tahir Ahmed was certainly music to the ears of the officials of the PBSA and it was promptly acknowledged by their President, Alamgir Anwar Shaikh, who briefed the media about the Nationals 2010 to be staged here at the Karachi Gymkhana from March 2 to 8.
He announced the return of Mohammad Yousuf and Shehram Changezi to the national circuit. “Shehram, a former Pakistan number one, has qualified for the National Championship by winning the recently concluded Punjab Cup in Lahore while Yousuf, a former world champion, has made it through the Sindh Cup quota,” the PBSA President disclosed.
Alamgir Shaikh, however, could not come up with a convincing answer when asked if the decision of the Sindh Billiards & Snooker Association (SBSA), an affiliated unit of the PBSA, to allow direct entry to the veteran Yousuf without asking him to play in the Sindh Cup was in accordance with their constitution.
Yousuf, having won the National Championship on the highest number of occasions, was eliminated from the circuit following his inconsistent performance in successive ranking tournaments. He had to miss all the four national ranking tournaments last year after being denied wild card entry by the PBSA.
Alamgir Shaikh, having succeeded Ali Asghar Valika as the chief of the Association in 2008, regretted the recent decline in the governmental support to the game of snooker as he showed a comparison in which the lesser known games received much higher grants than the PBSA.
On the positive note the PBSA President disclosed that they have facilitated the participation of the finalists of the National Junior Championship, Muhammad Ahsan Javed of Punjab and Muhammad Ishtiaq of Sindh, in order to let compete with the top cueists of the country in the National Championship
“They will make it to the main draw automatically if there were two dropouts. They will still be included in the line-up if all the cueists do turn up in which case the number of participants in the National Championship will rise to 34,” Alamgir Shaikh explained.
Top four cueists from each of the four provinces, Punjab, Sindh, NWFP and Balochistan, earned the right to appear in the National Championship besides the top 16 cueists in the last national ranking chart.
Syed Khalid Mahmood has had passion for writing and sports since childhood. After having edited wall papers and magazines in his student life, he had started contributing to various international publications from an early age.
He joined the mainstream journalism in 1987 and his first book was published later the same year. After having studied at the famed institutions like Cadet College Petaro and Delhi College, he graduated in civil engineering from the prestigious NED University of Engineering & Technology, Karachi, in 1986.
He has earned greater fame and recognition in the field of media being acclaimed as a leading international sports writer, having worked for some of the eminent newspapers like The Frontier Post and The News International besides a brief stint with The Mississauga News. He has also appeared regularly as an analyst on various television channels.
He has already authored 12 books viz Asian Glory (2012); Reflections (2010); Cricket Fever: A History of Pakistan-India Tours (2008); Mission Caribbean: A Guide to ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 (2007); World Cup 2003: Top of the Charts (2005); Spotlight on World Cup 2003 (2005); World Cup 1999: So Near Yet So Far (2000); Pakistan’s Sports Greats (1997); Pakistan: The Land of World Champions (1995); Pakistan’s Triumph in World Cup 1992 (1993); The Caribbean Challenge: A History of Pakistan-West Indies matches (1989) and Focus on World Cup (1987 and 1994).
He has had an active social life throughout. Having founded The Young Champs in 1984 he became the District Secretary of Rotary International District 3271 (Pakistan) in 2015-16. Besides being the Founder President of the NED Alumni Association, he is also the Vice President of the Delhi College & Schools Old Boys Association. He is also a member of The Petarian Association, Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi Press Club, Pakistan Engineering Council and Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists.
His write-ups are carried by innumerable portals and websites across the world while his exclusive articles on the web, having grown in popularity, could be accessed on his blog at www.skmsports.com
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