October 4, 2010

Imran Shahzad lifts Del Monte Snooker Cup


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Imran Shahzad finally accomplished his mission of winning a national ranking tournament when he edged out Sohail Shahzad in the final of the Del Monte Snooker Cup at the Karachi Club on October 3.

Just like a few of his illustrious contemporaries he needed over a decade to pocket a title after having come close on numerous occasions. Khurram Hussain Agha and Naveen Kumar Perwani had endured similar fate for a number of years before finally laying their hands on a trophy.

The Chairman of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Sports, Iqbal Mohammad Ali, was the chief guest in the presentation ceremony, presided over by Anjum Nisar, a former President of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), and Managing Director, Del Monte.

The chief guest presented a cheque of Rs 50,000 to Imran along with the glittering trophy while runner-up Sohail collected a purse of Rs 30,000. There was another cash award of Rs 5,000 for Imran for having recorded the highest break of the tournament.

There was more reward for Imran as Anjum Nisar offered him a one-year contract of Rs 8,000 per month Another good news for both the finalists was their qualification in the IBSF World Snooker Championship 2010 to be held at Damascus, Syria, in December.

The Lahore-based Imran has remained one of the top cueists of the country for a while but a tournament win was eluding him until he finally produced the kind of performance that was being expected of him for a long time.

The 35-year-old Imran had to work extremely hard to earn the title and it needed a special effort to overcome Karachi’s Sohail Shahzad 8-6 in the best of 15 frame final that lasted close to six hours.

He compiled a couple of century breaks, including the highest of the tournament, while overpowering Sohail with the frame scores of 23-75, 94-15, 16-86, 68-21, 34-86, 127-1, 72-58, 50-60, 56-27, 54-81, 78-44, 49-68, 69-44, 103-0.

It was a final to remember as the fortunes kept fluctuating dramatically and the outcome was in doubt until the very end. It was one of those very few contests that remained locked at 4-4, 5-5 and 6-6 before Imran finally pressed home the advantage.

After having chalked up a break of 123 in the sixth frame he sealed the fate of the tournament with another classy break of 103 in what turned out to be the last frame of the marathon duel.

It was the first outing in the final for the 28-year-old Sohail who also has improved in leaps and bounds during the last couple of years to be ranked among the top cueists all along.

Earlier in the semifinals Imran had edged out Shahram Changezi 6-5 in three-and-a-half hour battle with the frame scores of 50-55, 57-17, 78-33, 72-46, 68-49, 63-75, 46-60, 35-78, 57-60, 59-24, 75-16.

Sohail had created a minor upset by toppling third seed Mohammad Asif Toba 6-4 with the frame scores of i47-55, 60-45, 30-64, 43-77, 69-33, 45-54, 103-0, 57-44, 116-0, 74-5 in the other semifinal.

readmore »»

PBSA denied foreign coach for Asian Games


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Obviously the officials of the Pakistan Billiards and Snooker Association (PBSA) are feeling bitterly disappointed at being denied the permission to acquire the services of Sanjay Sawant as Pakistan coach for the next month’s Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.

The PBSA President, Alamgir Anwar Shaikh, considered the non-issuance of NOC for Sanjay Sawant of India as a major setback to their plans adding that it’s also a big blow to their medal hopes in the Asiad.

Alamgir Shaikh informed the media in Karachi that the PBSA had received a communication in this regard from the Islamabad-based Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) explaining that the hiring of a foreign coach was examined in consultation with the Interior Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The PBSA President stated that they have been informed by the PSB that the Ministry of Interior has regretted issuance of NOC in this case.

Alamgir Shaikh didn’t mince words in stating the the PBSA desperately needed a foreign coach in preparations for the Asian Games camp starting in Islamabad from October 15.

“The PBSA is due to name a five-member Pakistan squad next week. We were hoping that the PSB and the Interior Ministry would issue NOC to the PBSA for hiring the services of Sanjay Sawant as coach but all our efforts went in vain,” he said.

The PBSA had been under fire in the past for not having engaged a qualified coach in order to prepare and fine tune the promising youngsters in particular for the various regional and international competitions.

When the PBSA finally made up their mind to acquire the services of a coach now they have been denied the permission by the concerned authorities.

The PBSA authorities have repeatedly spoken about their shrinking resources following the ban on cigarette sponsorship, prompting them to seek governmental support besides knocking the doors of the corporate sector.

Since Pakistan’s cueists had bagged medals in the Asian Games in 1998 as well as in 2002 their case was stronger case to urge the government to financially support the PBSA.

Alamgir Shaikh has been running from pillar to post to let the end meet but the support from the government side has declined after the departure of Pir Syed Aftab Shah Jilani as Federal Minister of Sports.

Pir Aftab was himself a sportsman and he was more than willing to promote the bodies having the potential to earn glories and medals for the country. The PBSA also benefited greatly during his tenure as the Federal Sports Minister.

Things have changed since then and the PBSA has not been able to secure grants from the Federal Ministry of Sports or the Pakistan Sports Board despite continued correspondence and follow-up.

The Federal Sports Ministry had committed to foot the bill for the foreign coach the PBSA was planning to hire as the basic objective was to train the cueists for the Asian Games. With the non-issuance of NOC to Sanjay Sawant the PBSA functionaries have very little time to get hold of a coach from any other country.

readmore »»

Recent Posts