KARACHI: The Pakistan Billiards and Snooker Federation (PBSF) on Monday honoured the pair of Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Sajjad for winning the IBSF team event title in Carlow, Ireland, in October last year.

By Anwar Zuberi

The two were presented a promised cheque of Rs100,000 apiece at a simple ceremony held at the Karachi Gymkhana on the eve of their departure to Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, on Tuesday to defend their crown. The event runs from June 18 to 29.

Speaking on the occasion, the PBSF president, Alamgir Shaikh, said the presentation of token amount, though delayed, will motivate the cueists to defend their team event crown besides performing well in the 6-Reds individual event.

He reiterated that the cue sport was getting step-motherly treatment from the government and the players were eagerly looking forward to get their promised prize money as per the national sports policy.

The last-minute exclusion of Mohammad Asif’s name for the Pride of Performance award reflects the government’s apathy towards the sport, he added.

The PBSF chief feared that the efforts made put in by the PBSF and the players, the sponsors and the media during the last three decades may go to waste if the government pays no heed to the genuine issues of the cueists.

He singled out result-oriented snooker for keeping the country’s flag high among the 40 national sports federations.

Alamgir said a non-ranking event of top 16 will be organised in August which will serve as qualifier for the selection of top two cueists for the IBSF world championship which is being held in Bangalore.

Referring to the proposed Sindh Snooker Academy he said report of the soil test, measurement and design has been submitted to the Karachi Building Control Academy (KBCA) and the construction work may start later this year. The PBSF Board has decided to apprise Sindh chief minister for funds, he added.

Meanwhile, Asif and Sajjad said they were in high spirits and will go all out to bring laurels to the nation from Egypt. “We have undergone eight-hour practice daily at the National Bank of Pakistan Sports Complex for the last one week to sharpen our skills,” they told Dawn. Both the cueists are employed at the NBP.

Besides the cueists, Jawed Karim will accompany the team as manager while Alamgir will travel as delegate.