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ISLAMABAD: Last year was the most successful one for Pakistani cueists who won 11 medals in international competitions. However, snooker has not got the due attention it deserves by the country’s sports managers.

“Instead of announcing special prizes for champions, the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) imposed a 50 per cent cut on special grant for the Pakistan Billiards and Snooker Federation (PBSF), reducing the Rs3 million special grant down to Rs1.5 million. Is this not a step-motherly treatment with us? Why are we being ignored?” asked PBSF president Munawwar Hussain Shaikh while speaking to Dawn.

Munawwar said that the country has a lot of potential in this game as in August, Pakistan players made a world record when both their teams played the final of the IBSF team event in the Egyptian City of Hurgodha.

“For the first time in the history of snooker both finalist teams were from the same country. It was really a great achievement and a proud moment for us,” Munawwar said.

It may be recalled here Pakistan-2 team comprised of former world champion (amateur) Muhammad Asif and Babar Masih who edged out their compatriots — the pair of Muhammad Sajjad and Asjad Iqbal — in the prestigious event.

Last year Pakistan achieved another milestone when Pakistan’s Naseem Akhtar won the IBSF U-18 Snooker World Championship after beating China’s Peifan Lei in China.

“We achieved all these successes just because of two training camps we organised here in Islamabad under the supervision of Iranian coach Soheil Vahedi,” the PBSF president said.

He regretted that the PSB had so far failed to release the petty Rs800,000 committed funds for paying to the coach while adding that the academies could contribute significantly in improving the standard of snooker in the country.

Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2018