Pakistan’s top cueist Mohammad Asif arrived in Karachi and was received to a hero’s welcome after winning the IBSF World Snooker Championship title in Turkey.
The arrival lounge echoed with slogans of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ and ‘Mohammad Asif Zindabad’ as the champion arrived carrying the glittering trophy of IBSF Championship.
Officials of the Pakistan Billiards and Snooker Association (PBSA), Sindh Snooker Association and local snooker players were present to greet the champion. The celebrations were followed with rose showers and drummers.
Asif had defeated Jefrey Roda of Philippines in the final for 8-5 to win his second IBSF World tile on Saturday. Despite the star cueist’s heroics, no government official was present to welcome him on his return.
The world champion voiced his disappointment over the lack of government support but assured that his confidence does not falter because of it.
“We don’t get any appreciation or incentives from government despite bringing laurels for the county which is naturally disappointing, but this doesn’t dent our confidence as we always aim to keep Pakistan’s flag high,” Asif told Geo.tv.
It wasn’t smooth sailing for me: Asif
The star cueist remained undefeated throughout the tournament, however he revealed that it was no easy task to maintain his winning streak.
“It wasn’t smooth sailing for me, I was suffering from a back injury which was troubling me in the tournament but I am thankful to God that I kept my control and won the title,” he said.
“The best moment of the tournament was beating the Israeli player in round of 32,” Asif said referring to his 5-3 game against Shachar Ruberg.
Before the final, Asif had floored Kritsanut Lertsattayathorn 7-0 in the semi final and defeated Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon for 6-4 in the challenging quarter-final.
“He (Thanawat) is an experienced player and knew what he had to do, he was really tough. Roda was young player but he played well too. I am happy that I overcame both the challenges,” Asif said.
“After Thanawat’s game, I played Kritsanut in semi final, I have played him before and I was aware of his tactics,” he said.
“I was confident because of my win against Thanawat and I played the next game in an hour after that win which kept in momentum.”
This was Mohammad Asif’s second IBSF World Snooker Championship title, he had previously won the same title in Bulgaria in 2012.
Meanwhile, Alamgir Sheikh – the chairman of PBSA said that he was always confident that Asif would win the title.
“I saw him in very good form, he was unbeaten throughout the championship and defeated top players in the tournament which is a very positive sign,” Sheikh said.
“It’s a very happy moment and high time that snooker gets its due share. The IPC minister and DG sports have given us positive vibes and I hope there will be something positive for snooker very soon,” he hoped.