By Syed Khalid Mahmood(Pakistan News & Features Services)
The 19-year-old Hamza Akbar has become the favourite to win the 14th Asian Under-21 Snooker Championship 2013 starting in the Indian city of Indore on April 1 after having clinched Pakistan’s National Snooker Championship exactly a week ago.
Hamza, hailing from the industrial town of Faisalabad, has been in excellent form of late and it’s just a matter of extending that brilliant run for another week to bring home the continental title.
“Winning the National Championship on my maiden appearance is certainly a fulfillment of a dream but I desire more wins. I will like to extend this purple patch and hope to do very well in the upcoming Asian Under-21 Championship,” Hamza remarked after capturing the national crown at the Karachi Gymkhana on March 25.
Hamza will become the first Pakistani to annex the Asian Under-21 title, should he continue his winning form for a few more days. Mohammad Majid Ali, another highly promising youngster, is the other Pakistani cueist who will be in action at Indore where a total of 30 cueists will be competing for the crown.
The participants have been divided in eight groups with the league matches to be spread over four days. The top two cueists from each group will be advancing to knockout phase starting with the pre-quarter-finals on April 5. The quarter-finals and the semifinals will be held the following day with the event to wind up with final and the prize distribution ceremony on April 7.
According to the draws, the Group A comprises of Zhu Yinghui (China), Alireza Rezaei (Iran) and Ishpreet Chadha (India), the Group B contains Noppon Saengkham (Thailand), Khalid Kamali (UAE) and Dhvaj Haria (India) while the Group C features Malkeet Singh (India), Mohamed Naseer Mohamed Munshi (Sri Lanka), Maung Maung (Myanmar) and Ratchayothin Yotharuck (Thailand).
The Group D has the presence of Hamza Akbar (Pakistan), Leong Man Hhoi (Hong Kong), Vishal Vaya (India) and Siyavosh Mazayani (Iran) while Mohammad Majid Ali (Pakistan), Wan Nansen Sin Man (Hong Kong), Badr Obaid Khalifa Almehairi (UAE) and Rahul Sachdev (India) have been drawn in the Group E.
The Group F is composed of Hyder Salam Abd Ajmajid (Iraq), Ro Htet (Myanmar), Zhou Yelong (China) and Weerasooriya Maha Vidanalage Kanishka (Sri Lanka), the Group G consists of Boonyarit Keattikul (Thailand), Lu Ning (China), Amin Sanjaei (Iran) and Ali Naser Ali (Iraq) while the quartet of Hyder Abdul Sattar (Iraq), Nitesh Madan (India), Chang Ming Tung, Dongdong (Hong Kong) and Ali Gharahgozlou (Iran) constitute the Group H.