KARACHI: The 15-team Jubilee Insurance 29th Asian Snooker Championship will explode into action with 24 gruelling matches at the Sheraton Hotel in Karachi today.
The participants include hosts Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Hong Kong, Iran, Iraq, Mongolia, Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria, Thailand and the UAE.
India had pulled out of the event on Thursday as they failed to get their government’s clearance in time.
The $13,500 event will begin with best-of-seven matches during the group stage with two players from each of the eight pools qualifying for the last-16.
IBSF world champion Mohammad Asif is placed in Pool A alongside Hong Kong’s Fung Kwok Wai, Qatar’s Mohsen Aziz Bukhshaisha and Sri Lanka’s Ryan Somarathne.
Asif said he has recovered from his eyesight problem, which was hampering his game as he crashed out of the recently-held national championship during the opener.
“I’ve taken proper medication to get rid of the problem and now my aim is to win another title,” Asif told The Express Tribune. “Mohammad Yousuf is the only Pakistani to win both the world and Asian championship, so it will be nice to achieve this feat as well. I hope I can replicate my form of the world championship and bring glory for Pakistan on home soil.”
He added that the training camp helped the players get rid of any rustiness and they assisted each other during the practice sessions.
Asif also talked about how he gave tips to young prodigy Humza Akbar during the camp.
“Humza is an exciting upcoming player but he needs guidance to play well in such a big event against top players. Senior players have tried to share our experiences with him so that he remains composed even in tough situations because at the top level, it’s all about handling pressure.”
M Asif (Pakistan), F Wai (Hong Kong), M Bukhshaisha (Qatar),
R Somarathne (Sri Lanka)
S Mohammad (Afghanistan), A Sarkosh (Iran),
Imran Shehzad (Pakistan), E Enkhbaatar (Mongolia)
H Akbar (Pakistan), K Fatima (Syria), W Yuchin (China), H Hady (Iraq)
E Nezhad (Iran), Y Pakpoj (Thailand), O Kojah (Syria),
A Saim (Pakistan)
R Yotharuck (Thailand), M Lababi (Iran), A Chin (Singapore),
B Masih (Pakistan), H Chul (S Korea)
Z Xintong (China), M Sajjad (Pakistan), A Ali (Iraq),
H Hee (S Korea), U Davaasuren (Mongolia)
L Kiat (Singapore), M Senzai (Afghanistan), M Joakar (UAE),
S Botheju (Sri Lanka), A Sattar (Pakistan)
M Shehab (UAE), A Saif (Qatar), S Aftab (Pakistan),
B Kaettikun (Thailand), L Wai (Hong Kong)
Published in The Express Tribune, April 27th, 2013.