THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE, KARACHI, 27th SEPTEMBER 2013: Shahid Aftab claimed the Jubilee Insurance 3rd Ranking Snooker Championship title by beating Abdul Sattar 7-4 in the final witnessed by star cricketer Shahid Afridi at the Sheraton Arcade in Karachi yesterday.
Sattar had threatened to run away with the trophy in the initial stages of the contest as he was 3-1 up after four closely-fought frames. But Aftab broke the pressure with an impressive break of 106 points in the fourth frame which motivated him to win the next two frames and the match was tied at 3-3.
However, Sattar was in no mood to lay down his arms easily and he once again went ahead with a 4-3 lead. But after that, it was all about Aftab as he won four straight frames to seal his win by 56-76, 64-68, 73-51, 47-74, 114-03(106), 74-16, 40-66, 71-25, 58-46, 73-39 and 61-59.
Aftab also secured a berth in Pakistan’s squad alongside world champion Mohammad Asif and Imran Shehzad for the IBSF World Championship which will be held in Latvia in November.
‘We’ve got perfect squad now’
Pakistan Billiards and Snooker Association (PBSA) President Alamgir Sheikh was delighted with the squad for the IBSF World Championship stating that he could not have asked for a better trio.
“Asif, Shehzad and Aftab make the perfect squad for the world championship,” Sheikh toldThe Express Tribune.
“They’ll do well hopefully, but right now our focus is on the IBSF 6-Red World Championship and the World Team Event where Asif and Mohammad Sajjad will participate. We haven’t got a special grant from the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) despite our request, but we’ll send the team on our own as we did last year when Asif became world champion.”
Sheikh added that the ranking championship was one of the most competitive events held recently as the ratio of upsets was high. He said it was pleasant to see the likes of Mohammad Bilal and Babar Masih shocking some of the top players.
Afridi urges government to reward Asif
Afridi lent his vocal support to Asif, saying that the government should honour him for being a world champion.
“The government should honour a world champion and I believe Asif should be rewarded for his heroics,” he said. “I play snooker too which is why I’m here to witness this final,” Afridi said on the occasion.”
Meanwhile, Asif himself stated that it was an honour to receive the backing of Afridi since he is a well-known figure around the world.
“It feels great when someone of Afridi’s stature backs you and I’m really thankful to him for raising his voice for me,” said Asif.
“His presence today will definitely go on to help the promotion of snooker in Pakistan.”