KARACHI: The old guard is likely to dominate when the NBP 46th National Snooker Championship cues off at the bank’s sports complex on Friday thanks to the attitude of the Pakistan Billiards and Snooker Federation towards junior cueists.

The promising Ahsan Javaid and Mubashir Raza, ranked fifth and sixth respectively, were overlooked for the Asian Snooker Championship as well as the IBSF 6-Red Snooker World Cup in Qatar earlier this month; being denied international exposure.

Instead, eighth-ranked Babar Masih and Haris Tahir, ranked ninth, were sent. Babar was a losing finalist at the IBSF event while Haris reached the semi-finals of the Asian Championships.

“Ignoring the deserving players on merit will affect their performance,” an official connected with the game told Dawn on condition of anonymity.

The country’s premier snooker event is being held after a long layoff, thanks to NBP sponsoring the tournament for the first time. It has been regularly supporting the game by organising NBP Ranking Snooker Championship for over a decade.

The details of the event were announced at a press conference held at Karachi Gymkhana on Monday.

As many as 56 cueists will vie for honours in the event that concludes on Oct 11. The participants include 12 top ranking players, six juniors, eight each from Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, four from Islamabad and two wild cards.

Two-time world champion Mohammad Asif, who defeated another former national champion Shahid Aftab in the last year’s final to capture his fourth national crown, is the top seed.

Groups:

‘A’: Mohammad Asif (Punjab), Mohammad Shahzad (Punjab), Munawar Khaliq (Islamabad), Abdul Qadir Ashir (Balochistan), Owais Ullah (Punjab), Rambel Gul (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Abdul Sattar (Sindh).

‘B’: Mohammad Sajjad (Punjab), Zubair Tahir (Punjab), Adil Khan (Balochistan), Sharjeel Mehmood (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Iftikhar Khan (Sindh), Saif Ullah (Punjab), Hamza Akbar (Punjab).

‘C’: Shahid Aftab (Punjab), Ahsan Ramzan (Punjab), Aamir Sohail (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Waqar Ahmed (Islamabad), Farrukh Usman (Sindh), M. Aftab Baig (Balochistan), Hammad Hassan Shaikh (Punjab).

‘D’: Mohammad Bilal (Punjab), Shaikh M. Mudassir (Punjab), Abdul Javed (Islamabad), Ali Hamza (Sindh), Imran Khan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Nadeem Gul (Punjab), Ahmad Shah (Balochistan).

‘E’: Mohammad Ahsan Javaid (Punjab), Mohammad Ijaz (Punjab), Hiskail Bilal (Balochistan), Muzammil Malik (Punjab), Dr. Imran Qamar (Punjab), Umer Memon (Sindh), Shah Khan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa).

‘F’: Mubashir Raza (Punjab), Zulfiqar A. Qadir (Sindh), Saad Khan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Hamza Ilyas (Punjab), Umair Haider (Punjab), Bahadur Khan (Balochistan), Taufeeq Memon (Sindh).

‘G’: Munhammad Naseem Akhtar (Punjab), Mohammad Saleem (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Faizan Ahmed (Sindh), Waseem Abbas (Punjab), M. Sattar Khan (Islamabad), Ibrahim Khan (Balochistan), Aamir Shahzad (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa).

‘H’: Babar Masih (Punjab), Haris Tahir (Punjab), Asjad Iqbal (Punjab), Sultan Mohammad (Sindh), Tanzeel Hussain (Balochistan), M.Yaqoob (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), M. Jawed Ansari (Sindh).

Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2021

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