Pakistan snooker team off to Doha today

KARACHI: A three-member Pakistan snooker team leaves for Doha early on Friday morning to feature in the 33rd Asian Snooker Championship being held there from April 22 to 28.

Led by reigning national champion Mohammad Sajjad, the team includes Asjad Iqbal and Mohammad Bilal.

As per the practice, both Sajjad and Asjad have qualified to represent the country at the event by securing top two slots in the 42nd National Snooker Championship.

According to officials, the Pakistan Billiards and Snooker Federation (PBSF) has picked Bilal on the basis of being quarter-finalist of the IBSF World Snooker Championship held at Doha in November.

The three-time national champion Sajjad is the senior most cueist of the trio having won a number of laurels for the nation including world No 2 title, Asian No 2 and winner of the Korat Cup, a Thai ranking tournament, on their soil in the past.

However, he is going through a trauma due to the sudden demise of his wife in a road accident in his home town Sargodha recently and may not be able to give his best.

Sajjad had lost to Iran’s reigning world champion Sohail Vahedi in the last-32 round in the last Asian championship.

The performance of Asjad, a pupil of Sajjad, has been consistent in the recent past which is evident from his reaching the final of the country’s premier snooker championship.

As far as former national champion Bilal is concerned, he had made it to the last-16 in the preceding Asian where he had lost 1-4 to eventual champion Kritsanut Lertsattayathorn of Thailand.

In the IBSF World event, he progressed up to the quarter’s where he went down 5-6 to Andrew Pagett of the Wales.

This is the first international exposure of the year for men and their next assignment will be participation in the fifth Asian Team and sixth 6-Reds championship being held at Kyrgyzstan from May 13 to 23.

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