February 29, 2012

Bahrain’s induction makes Jubilee Insurance snooker 7-Nation contest


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Bahrain have been included in what has now become Jubilee Insurance 7-Nation International Snooker Championship 2012, scheduled to be held at Hotel Pearl Continental, Karachi, from March 4.

The media launch of the six-day individual event, carrying cash awards of US$ 3,100, was organized at its venue on February 28 in which details were unveiled by Alamgir Anwar Shaikh, President, Pakistan Billiards & Snooker Association (PBSA), and Tahir Ahmed, Managing Director, Jubilee General Insurance Company Limited.

It was disclosed that Bahrain, approached at the eleventh hour, have accepted the invitation right away and their cueists have confirmed participation. Besides hosts Pakistan and Bahrain, the cueists from Iran, Egypt, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be taking part in the championship.

The focus will be on Iran’s Hossein Vafaei, who had clinched the world crown last December in Bangalore, India, by defeating Lee Walker of Wales in the final. The league matches, to be best of seven-frame encounters, will be followed by the knockout games, starting from quarter-finals.

“It’s going to be a fulfillment of a dream. The return of international snooker in Pakistan augurs very well for the future of Pakistan sports. We look forward to making it a biannual feature,” Tahir Ahmed remarked.

“It’s very heartening to note that the top cueists of the world will be coming down to Karachi. The contests will provide high quality entertainment to the snooker fans of our country,” he noted.

Alamgir Shaikh was also expressed his delight and hoped that the 7-nation snooker championship could go a long way in reopening the floodgates as far as international sports events are concerned.
“We invited Bahrain because we were not sure about participation from India. But earlier today we have been assured that the Indians will also be issued NOC by Ministry of Interior within a couple of days to let obtain the visas in time before their flight to Karachi,” the PBSA President revealed.

“Originally we had made draws of 24 cueists, who were divided equally in four groups. Now with two cueists adding up from Bahrain we have decided to include two more local cueists, Sharjeel Mahmood and Vishan Gir, to raise the number of participants to 28,” he added.

“The winner of the championship will be getting a purse of US$2,000 while the runner-up will be receiving US$1,000 and the highest break carries a cash award of US$100. The total staging cost on the event is estimated to be Rs 3.2 million while the sponsorship fee being paid by Jubilee Insurance is Rs 3.5 million,” Alamgir Shaikh stated.

He confirmed that Pascal Guillaum, President, International Billiards & Snooker Federation (IBSF) and Mohamed Elkammah, Secretary General, IBSF, belonging to France and Egypt respectively, will be coming over to Karachi alongwith Hashem Eskandarirad, President, Billiards & Snooker Federation of Iran, in accordance with their original travel plans.

Mohamed Ibrahim Mohamed and Yasir Ahmed Mohamed Elsherbiny (Egypt), Yasin Raza Merchant and Mohammad Faisal Khan (India), Hossein Vafaei Ayouri and Syed Abooyesani (Iran), Noppon Saengkham and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh (Thailand), Mohammad Al Joaker and Mohammad Mustafa Shehab (UAE) alongwith two cueists from Bahrain will be competing with Pakistan’s top eight cueists Mohammad Asif, Sultan Mohammad, Mohammad Sajjad, Naveen Kumar Perwani, Abdul Sattar, Sohail Shahzad, Sharjeel Mahmood and Vishan Gir.


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