32 players will be participating in the championship. -File photo

KARACHI: The third Jubilee Insurance ranking snooker championship cues off at the Karachi Gymkhana on Tuesday with 32 players vying for honours.

Despite being defeated 4-7 by the promising Asjad Iqbal in the final of fourth NBP Cup two weeks before, national champion Mohammad Asif has maintained his top ranking.

On the other hand, Asjad has leaped 14 places to occupy second slot in the latest rankings. Previously, he was ranked 16th.

The president of Pakistan Billiards and Snooker Association (PBSA), Alamgir Shaikh, spelt out details at a press briefing held at Karachi Gymkhana on Monday.

Also present on the occasion were chairman of the PBSA, Asghar Valika, managing director of Jubilee Insurance, Tahir Ahmed, PBSA officials Javed Karim, Munawwar Hussain Shaikh, and president of Karachi Gymkhana Ali Rahim.

Speaking on the occasion, Valika, who relinquished PBSA presidentship after serving for two decades, said sponsorships play a vital role in the uplift of any sport and Jubilee Insurance has become synonymous with snooker; filling the vacuum created by former sponsor.

He complimented his able successor for carrying forward the circuit despite financial constraints.

In his speech, Tahir Ahmed reiterated to launch an under-15 snooker contest or which he has already allocated funds.

Alamgir threw light on the progress of setting up an academy in the city, in correspondence with Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) pertaining to affiliation, employment of players, inviting foreign coaches, and on the show cause notices issued to Shehram Changezi and Mohammad Sajjad for breaching of players’ code of conduct.

Taking advantage of the briefing, he refuted certain allegations levelled against the PBSA and clarified the position.

“We’ve distributed the calendar to the media in January which envisaged national and international events and are going accordingly,” he said while defending PBSA.

Meanwhile, two players namely Farhan Khan and Shafiullah, both from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, were dropped out at the eleventh hour after confirming their entries. They were replaced by Suneel Shahani and Kashif Khan respectively from Sindh.

Following are the pools:

Group ‘A’: Mohammad Asif (Punjab), Mohammad Majid (Punjab), Mohammad Nazeer (Punjab), Mohammed Jawed (Punjab), Farrukh Usman Brohi (Sindh), Bilawal Agha (Sindh), Mohammad Asif Toba (Punjab), Umair Alam (Sindh). Group ‘B’: Asjad Iqbal (Punjab), Vishan Gir (Sindh), Shahid Aftab (Punjab), Shehram Changezi (Punjab), Mohammad Yousuf (Punjab), Mohammad Afzal (Punjab), Suneel Shahani (Sindh), Javed Ansari (Sindh). Group ‘C’: Sultan Mohammad (Sindh), Abdul Sattar (Sindh), Mohammad Imran (Punjab), Sohail Shehzad (Sindh), Imran Shehzad (Punjab), Shah Khan (KP), Mohammad Akmal (Sindh), Mohammad Bilal (Punjab). Group ‘D’: Mohammad Sajjad (Punjab), Naveen Perwani (Sindh), Khurram Hussain Agha (Sindh), Sharjeel Mehmood (KP), Abu Saim (Punjab), Farhan Noor (Punjab), Kashif Khan (Sindh), Mohammad Ishtiaq (Sindh).

Tuesday’s fixtures: Mohammad Asif v Umair Alam, Asjad Iqbal v Javed Ansari, Sultan Mohammad v Mohammad Bilal, Mohammad Sajjad v Mohammad Ishtiaq at 10:00am; Mohammad Majid v Mohammad Asif Toba, Vishan Gir v Suneel Shahani (Sindh), Abdul Sattar v Mohammad Akmal, Naveen Perwani v Kashif Khan (Sindh) at 12:00noon; Mohammad Nazeer v Bilawal Agha, Shahid Aftab v Mohammad Afzal, Mohammad Imran v Shah Khan, Khurram Hussain Agha v Farhan Noor at 2:00pm; Mohammad Jawed v Farrukh Usman Brohi, Shehram Changezi v Mohammad Yousuf, Sohail Shehzad v Imran Shehzad, Sharjeel Mehmood v Abu Saim at 4:00pm.

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