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There was no stopping Mohammad Sajjad from recapturing the national crown. Easily the most talented of all the young cueists to have arrived on the scene in the recent past he was in complete control while routing Asjad Iqbal in the all-Sargodha final of the NJI 35th National Snooker Championship 2010 at the Karachi Gymkhana on March 8.
Top seeded Sajjad, a former champion, lived up to the billing by whacking the unseeded Asjad, making his maiden appearance in the final of the National Championship, 8-2 with the frame scores of 72-55, 100-6, 79-41, 122-8, 80-57, 67-43, 62-58, 8-72, 7-70, 85-7.
The presentation ceremony was held soon after the final in which Tahir Ahmed, Managing Director, New Jubilee Insurance (NJI), was the chief guest. Quite a few office-bearers of the Pakistan Billiards & Snooker Association (PBSA), including their President, Alamgir Anwar Shaikh, were also present on the occasion.
Tahir Ahmed, having become a familiar personality in the snooker circles, presented the glittering trophy alongwith a purse of Rs50,000 to Muhammad Sajjad while Asjad Iqbal collected the runner-up trophy with a reward of Rs30,000. Sajjad also got special cash awards for registering the tournament’s solitary century break in the final.
The 26-year-old Sajjad, who had created a sensation by winning the National Championship on his debut a couple of years ago, was in complete control in the final against Asjad, five years his junior.
Unlike the last year’s final in which Sajjad was overshadowed by Mohammad Asif, he went about his business in leisurely fashion against his young opponent who he had also coached for a while in their hometown.
Sajjad’s dominance could be gauged from the fact that he registered one big break after another. He recorded breaks of 47 and 53 in the second frame before hammering one of 43 in the third.
He chalked up the first century break (117) of the competition in the fourth frame. His thirst for breaks didn’t end there as he blasted ones of 76 and 41 in sixth and seventh frames respectively to seal the fate of the match.
The young Asjad, having represented the country in last year’s Asian and World Under-21 Snooker Championships could not reproduce the form that had taken to the final against the heaviest of odds.
The only consolation for Asjad was preventing a whitewash that had earlier seemed imminent when he was trailing 0-7 in the best of 15 frame encounter. He snatched two frames in a row to make it 2-7 but Sajjad didn’t allow any more liberties to him.
The NJI 35th National Snooker Championship 2010 lasted about a week. A total of 34 cueists took part in the event who were divided in eight groups for the first round of league matches. The knockout stage began with the round of 16.
Quite a few promising youngsters grabbed the opportunity of demonstrating their growing stature with Asjad turning out to be the standout package.
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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