April 27, 2012

Ehsan Qureshi-inspired APP wins Royale Rodale Inter-Media Bowling contest

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood

The Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) emerged triumphant in the Royal Rodale Inter-Media Bowling Tournament staged at the Royal Rodale Club, located in Karachi’s Defence Housing Authority.

The trio of Ehsan Qureshi, Saeed Ahmed and Shiraz Siddiqui won the day for APP, the state-owned national news agency, by aggregating 142 points while SJAS comprising of Zahid Ghaffar, Abid Khattak and guest player Danish Kaneria finished runners-up with 120 points.  

The third position was claimed by Pakistan Observer, featuring Zeeshan, Waqas and Hasnain who totalled 116 points and Dawn Television, having Faraz Qasim, Emmad Hameed and Fawwad Qasim, came a close fourth with their tally 115 points.

Rehan Hashmi, Naveed Arshad, Tariq Azeem of Duniya TV stood fifth with 110 points while ARY, containing Mohsin Raza Khan, Syed Ali Hasan and Khurram Ahmed, finished sixth with 109 points.

Saeed Ahmed of APP turned out to be the highest individual scorer with 60 points while his teammates Ehsan Qureshi and Shiraz Siddiqui accumulated 48 and 34 points respectively. Overall 54 bowlers representing various media organizations took part in the one-day event.  

The Sindh Sports Minister, Dr Muhammad Ali Shah, who was the chief guest in the presentation ceremony, gave away the prizes and trophies.

Asghar Rangoonwala, Managing Director, Royal Rodale Club, and Iqbal Shah, a businessman, was also present on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Shah, who is also the President of the Sindh Olympic Association (SOA), complimented Asghar Rangoonwala for promoting the game of bowling and providing reporters of print and electric media and new agencies an opportunity for recreation and entertainment in wonderful environments. He offered his total support and assistance for the promotion of bowling.

Asghar Rangoonwala revealed that Royal Rodale had invited a foreign bowling coach from Philippines to train and coach Pakistan players. He also informed the audience about their activities in promoting the sport. The Royal Rodale Club, which has been famous for hosting the meetings and conferences of the various chapters of the Rotary International and other social organizations, has also been proactive in boosting the sport of bowling in particular. 

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April 21, 2012

Karachi University dominate MSAP-Greenwich chess event

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood

The students of the Karachi University outsmarted their opponents in the Greenwich University Chess Tournament, organized by the Mind Sports Association of Pakistan (MSAP), in Karachi on April 19.

The one-day chess tournament, contested by some of the leading high schools and universities of the metropolis, was staged at the Greenwich University’s main campus located in the Defence Housing Authority. The event was held as a part of the university’s silver jubilee celebrations.

The Karachi University champion, Awwad Mirza, emerged triumphant in the competition by accumulating 4.5 points while Israr-ul-Haq, from the same institution, ended runner-up with four points and Syed Samad of Beacon House stood third by collecting same number of points.

The fourth position was grabbed by Syed Uzair Rashid, also from the KU, with 3.5 points while Muneeb-ul-Hasan of the NED University and Mughees Akhtar Hussain of the Islamia College finished fifth and sixth, respectively.

Sohaib Khalid secured the best position, eighth overall, from the lot of the participants fielded by Greenwich University. Amais Qureshi, Arish Hussain and Kazim Hamdani also registered a couple of victories each.

Tariq Rasheed Khan, Director, MSAP, who was the chief guest in the presentation ceremony, held soon after the conclusion of the matches, distributed the shields among the top performers while Prof ZA Saif, Dr Wasimuddin Khan and Prof Farhat Saleem gave away a few consolation prizes.

International Master Shahzad Mirza, who is also the Secretary General of the Pakistan Chess Players Association (PCPA), conducted the tournament which was spread over five rounds on Swiss Movement System.

The tournament was quite nicely organized and the hall of the Greenwich University, where the event was being held, presented a festive look. The enthusiasm of the participating students gladdened the hearts of the organizers as well as the hosts.

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April 17, 2012

MSAP to hold 2nd National Mind Sports Games in July

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood

The second edition of the National Mind Sports Games (NMSG), launched with great fanfare four years ago, will be held here in July this year.

Khurshid Hadi, Founder President, Mind Sports Association of Pakistan (MSAP), has announced that all was set to organize the 2nd NMSG from July 13 to 15 at the Southend Club in DHA, Karachi. It’s being held on the eve of the 2nd WMSG to be staged in England in August.

“The last few weeks have been quite hectic at the MSAP and we have recently inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the MKR Foundation that surely would a long way in the promotion of mind sports in the country,” he revealed.

“The television coverage of the NMSG as well as the other mind sports events, some segments of them live, on Geo Super from time to time would be greatly helpful in roping in the sponsors on a long-term basis,” Khurshid Hadi reckoned.

“Right now we are in the process of finalizing the organizational aspects of the 2nd NMSG in which, like the inaugural event, competitions will be held in bridge, chess and scrabble,” he added.

“We plan to unveil the details of the NMSG in a big way through a media briefing in a few weeks time. There’s a possibility that we might bring in experts from the foreign countries for the upcoming event, subject to the availability of funds,” the MSAP chief indicated.

The MSAP, having come into being in June 2008 with the objective of promoting bridge, chess and scrabble in a big way, plans to make the NMSG a high-profile event.

It was encouraged by the performance of the local youngsters in the inaugural World Mind Sports Games (WMSG) in Beijing providing the impetus to carry mind sports to the various educational institutions.

It may be recalled that Pakistan had a full representation at Beijing and quite a few of the youngsters made a bold statement by faring well in the stiff competitions.

While the MSAP succeeded in carrying out its mission of promoting mind sports in colleges and universities over the last four years they also remained on the lookout for the willing sponsors who could support them consistently.

Having set rather high standards by organizing the first-ever NMSG in a very impressive manner at the Southend Club where they offered the kind of prize money, besides the environment, that wasn’t earlier associated with the games of chess and scrabble in particular, they waited for the right time to hold it again.

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April 9, 2012

Another title in world champ Ayouri’s bag

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Hossein Vafaei Ayouri, the reigning world champion from Iran, added another feather to his cap by winning the 13th Asian Under-21 Snooker Championship 2012 as he overpowered Anda Zhang of China in the final of the event staged in Goa, India.

The impossibly gifted Iranian teenager, having survived a scare at the hands of Noppon Saengkham of Thailand in the semifinals, recorded a cakewalk 6-2 win over Anda Zhang in the final with the frame scores of 121-6, 87-37, 74-0, 126-6, 79-5, 12-69, 29-76, 91-13.

Hossein Ayouri, who had created a sensation by clinching the world crown in Indian city of Bangalore last year, was in sublime form to crush his Chinese rival in the best of 11-frame final which turned out to be a one-sided affair.

He started off with a break of 79 in the opening frame which he won comfortably. There was some resistance in the second frame but there was none in the next three frames, in which he fired breaks of 74, 105 and 67.

He was firmly in control of the proceedings with a 5-0 lead in remarkably quick time, needing just one more to pocket the title. His opponent survived a clean sweep by winning the next two frames but it was all over in eight frames.

Unlike the lop-sided final, both the semifinals went to the full distance of nine frames. Hossein Ayouri had to bring all his expertise into play while overcoming Noppon Saengkham 5-4 with the scores of 70-17, 41-52, 73-00, 109-7, 105-22, 5-119, 28-77, 31-75, 74-36 while Anda Zhang faced similar fight before taming compatriot Zhou Yelong 5-4 with the frame scores of 52-64, 76-1, 87-64, 59-40, 5-104, 109-0, 6-70, 57-44.

Both of the matches witnessed snooker of high class with neither of the contestants prepared to give up. There were quite a few big breaks as well. Hossein Ayouri fired breaks of 69, 73, 90 and 83 while his rival, Noppon Saengkham, responded with breaks of 67 and 60 to keep the contest alive till the very end.

Anda Zhang chalked up breaks of 76 an 59 in suucessive frame before making one of 109 in the seventh frame. His opponent, Zhou Yelong, began with a frame 52 in the opening frame and followed it up with the ones of 104 and 70 in sixth and eighth frames respectively.

In the quarter-finals Zhou Yelong of China registered a couple of century breaks while overpowering Mohammad. Lababi of Iran 5-3 with the frame scores of 61-72, 112-0, 57-56, 78-23, 5-88, 65-31, 103-2.

Anda Zhang, also from China, stormed into the semifinals by whacking compatriot Lu Ning in straight frames with the scores of 61-56, 67-42, 87-24, 59-51, 108-0 while Noppon Saengkham of Thailand blanked Laxman Rawat of India in straight frames with the scores of 83-0, 79-41, 64-44, 104-4, 75-4.

Hossein Ayouri had to work little harder than anticipated in the quarter-finals while outwitting compatriot Amir Sarkhosh 5-2 with the frame scores of 57-11, 57-53, 54-63, 71-1, 64-8, 38-64, 63-44.

Neither of the Pakistani cueist could force way into the last eight as both Mohammad Hunain Aamir and Mohammad Majid Ali, were defeated in the pre-quarter-finals after having fared well in the league matches. A total of 33 cueists from 10 countries entered the eight-day event, which was inaugurated on April 2.

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April 7, 2012

Pakistan’s cueists run of steam after early brilliance in Asian Junior snooker

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Both the Pakistani cueists, Mohammad Hunain Aamir and Mohammed Majid Ali, after having performed exceedingly well in the league matches, crashed in their maiden knockout appearance of the 13th Asian Under-21 Snooker Championship 2012, in Goa, India, on April 6.

Hunain Aamir and Majid Ali, both of whom were making their debut at the continental level, went down fighting against their respective rivals in pre-quarter-finals.

Laxman Rawat of India edged out Majid Ali in the afternnon session and a few hours later all Pakistan’s hopes of capturing the Asian crown at the junior level for the first time, were dashed when Mohammad Lababi of Iran blew the whistle on Hunain Aamir.

Majid Ali, who became the Group D champion after winning all his three league fixtures, went down fighting in the pre-quarter-finals against Laxman Rawat of India. The promising Pakistani cueist played well to register big breaks in the high-pressure game but he was unable to press home the advantage.

It turned out to be a fierce seven-frame battle in which the local cueist controlled his nerves better to clinch the decisive frame to win the contest 4-3 with the scores of 75-2, 27-80, 79-31, 68-60, 13-95, 0-83, 65-54.

Majid came back to strongly from 1-3 down to make it 3-3. He compiled breaks of 60, 54, 53 and 54 during the last four frames but that was not enough to win the day for him.

The youngster from Faisalabad, who ended as the runner-up in the Jubilee Pakistan National Junior Championship earlier this year in Lahore, had registered impressive victories over Akani Songsermasawad of Thailand, Chang Yu Kiu of Hong Kong and Slyavosh Mozayani of Iran in his league encounters but he fell at the very hurdle in the knockout phase, starting from the round of 16.

Mohammad Lababi defeated Hunain Aamir 4-3 with the scores of 60-26, 75-41, 62-37, 33-62, 43-62, 15-86, 88-0. The Iranian played magnificently in the decisive seventh frame, giving his rival nothing away by registering a break of 88.

In the penultimate frame, Hunain Aamir, on whose shoulders Pakistan’s hopes of bringing home the title rested after the elimination of Majid Ali, fired a break of 58 to take the match into the seventh frame but he didn’t get much of a chance to visit the table which turned decisive.

Hunain Aamir, who reached the pre-quarter-finals even after succumbing to defeat in his last league encounter at the hands of Hossein Vafaei Ayouri, the current world champion from Iran earlier in the day, could not regroup quickly.

Pakistan’s reigning national junior champion from Sialkot had booked his place in the pre-quarters from the Group A by trouncing Lalit Dahiya of India and Marcus Lim Wei Jie of Singapore in his first couple of games.

His third and final against Hossein Vafaei Ayouri, was to decide the Group A champion, and the top seeded cueist from Iran, triumphed 4-1 with the frame scores of 97-4, 69-0, 79-1, 51-75, 96-0. The only consolation for Hunain was snatching the third frame in which he surprised the world champion with a break of 57.

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