Saleh lifts 29th Asian Snooker Championship trophy

Islamabad, May 4 (IANS) Afghan cueist Saleh Muhammad lifted his first amateur Asian trophy as he won the 29th Asian Snooker Championship in Pakistan’s port city of Karachi.

The 40-year-old cueist, who represented Pakistan for 16 years before moving to his home land Afghanistan in 2006, defeated the Syrian player Omar al Kojah by 7-2 in the best of 13-frames final match Friday.

“It’s a great moment for me and my nation. I think, it’s first ever Asian title won by an Afghan in any sports. This means a lot for me as I am bringing back some happiness for my people,” Saleh told Xinhua.

Despite the restive situation in the city, the Pakistan Billiards and Snooker Federation (PBSF) successfully hosted the 29th Asian Snooker Championship that started April 27 with the participation of 14 countries.

The featuring nations include hosts Pakistan, China, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Mongolia, the Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

All the players were divided into eight groups. But no Pakistani player including World Amateur Champion Muhammad Asif could qualify for the semi-finals.

This was the fourth time for Pakistan that it staged the Asian major competition after holding it first time in 1991.

The championship organising committee allocated a prize money of $13,500 for the event while Saleh pocketed $7,000 along with a winner’s trophy.

Saleh, representing Pakistan, reached the final of the world amateur snooker championship in China in 2003 but lost to India’s Pankaj Advani.

PBSF president Alamgir Shaikh was very happy and satisfied over the success of the event.

“We planned and finally we did it. I hope its success would bring other international sports events and players to Pakistan in future,” he said.

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