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Snooker facing apathy despite feats by cueists globally

April 14, 2013

The government has not awarded Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Majid yet. -File photo

KARACHI: Despite producing results of par excellence, the Pakistan Billiards and Snooker Federation (PBSF) is facing apathy from the government for quite sometime as far as monetary aspects are concerned.

According to an official communication of the ministry of sports to director general, Pakistan Sports Board (PSB), dated June 30, 2007, Olympic Games/World Cup/World Champions, team or individual, is entitled for a reward of Rs 10 million, but unfortunately there’s no word from the government-run PSB for cueist Mohammad Asif who did the country proud by capturing world amateur snooker title at Sofia, Bulgaria, on Dec 2 last.

Since returning home after crowning the glory, the Faisalabad-based Asif is running from pillar to post to get the pledged money. It was in this backdrop that he could not live up to his reputation in the national snooker championship held at Karachi Gymkhana last month. He was amongst those who also ran in the country’s premier snooker championship.

“Yes, it’s surprising that despite passing of four months neither the player nor the federation has received any word in this regard or appreciation from the PSB or Inter-provincial Coordination Committee (IPCC),” Pakistan Billiards and Snooker Federation (PBSF) president Alamgir Shaikh told Dawn.

Citing example, he said the government spends enormous money on team sport like hockey for just one medal whereas individual sports including snooker even fails to get peanuts.

In addition to the above amount, the then three chief ministers of Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have also announced one million rupees apiece for Asif, but whether he will be able to get it is a big question. The chief ministers have stepped down making room for caretaker government.

Likewise, carrying Pakistan flag high, Mohammad Majid Ali played the final of Asian under-21 snooker championship in the Indian city of Indore where he went down 5-6 to Thai opponent Noppon Saengkham which is no mean achievement.

According to the same policy, Majid is entitled to get Rs 50,000 for securing a silver medal.

The government has been courteous to the PBSF in the past as it has acknowledged the 1994 Johannesburg World Cup feat of cueist Mohammad Yousuf by awarding him a piece of land in Islamabad.

Similarly, the XVI Guangzhou Asian Games snooker bronze medalists (team event) — Imran Shehzad, Sohail Shehzad and Shehram Changezi — were awarded a total of three million rupees.

Pakistan is looking forward to hosting the Asian snooker championship in Karachi later this month. The government should encourage PBSF for staging the spectacle at a time when the foreign countries are not willing to come to Pakistan for security concerns.