HURGHADA: Pakistan 2 comprising of M Asif and Babar Masih won the IBSF World Team Snooker Championship 2017 gold medal after defeating Pakistan 1 consisting of M Sajjad and Asjad Iqbal 5-4 in the best-of-9 frames final played in Hurghada, Egypt, International Billiards & Snooker Federation reported.
It was truly a remarkable day for Pakistan snooker, as both the finalists were from Pakistan. It was victory for Pakistan and a gift of Independence Day for the entire Pakistani nation. The marathon final continued for more than two hours and it was experience of Asif, which mattered the most in the end, as it was a thriller and battle of nerves, in which Asif managed to prevail. The final was locked down at four frames-all and the fate of the title was decided in the 9th and last frame, which Asif and Babar managed to win in truly champion fashion.
Pakistan 2 got off to flying start and won the first frame 76-8 with 50 break, they won the second frame 74-34, but lost the third 26-70 with 60 break by Pakistan 1. Pakistan 2 again bounced back and won the 4th frame 78-52, but once again, they lost the 5th frame 31-52 and sixth 2-53, but once again they fought back well to win the 7th frame 46-44 but lost the 8th frame 13-68. In the decisive 9th frame, Pakistan 2 held their nerves and won it with huge difference of 70-29 to clinch the title. Both the team members hugged each other, as it was victory of Pakistan in the end.
Talking to The Nation soon after the final, champion M Asif said: “No one win, no one lose, as it is Pakistan snooker which is the ultimate winner and true champion. We have played the final with same spirit as we could have played against any other opponent, but off course, playing against Sajjad and Asjad has lifted pressure from both the teams, as we were aware of the fact that any one from us will win today.
“The title will go to Pakistan which was our main aim. We are thankful to Almighty for this great feat. The PBSA’s efforts were also commendable in this great achievement. I request the prime minister, the IPC minister and PSB director general to not only clear my outstanding cash incentives, but also announce incentives for not only Pakistan 2 and Pakistan 1, but also for the PBSA, as they are doing a fantastic job in highly-limited resources,” he added. Earlier in the semifinals, Pakistan 1 thrashed Wales 4-0 and Pakistan 2 outclassed Ireland 4-0.
While talking to The Nation, IPC minster Riaz Pirzada congratulated both Pakistan 1 and Pakistan 2 for rewriting history and winning the prestigious title for the country. “It is a golden day in the history of Pakistan snooker and it is a gift of Independence Day for entire Pakistani nation. Besides the set criteria of cash incentives mentioned in the PSB, I will strongly recommend special incentives for both Pakistan snooker teams.”
Sharing his views, PSB DG Akhtar Ganjera said it was a great achievement by the PSBA and their hard work paid great dividend as Pakistani players had started winning the international titles for the country. He assured that the PSB would continue to support the PBSA and provide them every facility at the PSB. “They made us proud and hopefully, the success story will continue in the years to come.”
Sharing his views, PSBA president Munawar A Shaikh said: “Pakistan teams have created the history as it was never witnessed before in the history of IBSF World Team Snooker Championship that both finalist teams were from the same country. “It is victory of entire Pakistani nation and a reason to celebrate for all of us. I once again request government to support snooker like they support cricket. The government should announce the same cash incentives that were awarded to the cricketers.
“It is the 10th medal won by our snooker players and three of them are gold medals in last 10 months. I hope PM Shahid Khakhan Ababsi will look into our efforts and recognise the snooker players and reward them accordingly. We will continue to work hard in our limited resources and will announce cash incentives for the heroes accordingly,” Munawar concluded.