Young snooker champion



March 28, 2022

World Snooker Championship


Umair Jalali describes a significant
sporting event

Ahsan Ramzan, 16, a young snooker player from Pakistan has beaten Amir Sarkosh of Iran to win the International Billiards and Snooker Federation (IBSF) World Snooker Championship. Ahsan Ramzan is the youngest Pakistani ever to win the trophy. It is indeed a proud moment for Pakistan the teen sensation Ahsan Ramzan overcame his more illustrious compatriot and defending champion Mohammad Asif in the semi-finals of the IBSF World Snooker Championship. Overwhelmed with emotion, Ahsan broke into tears as he hugged two-time winner Asif, who held Ahsan close like an elder brother. It seemed like the passing of the baton. There is something about winning against one’s sports idol and Ahsan’s reaction said it all.
It was that win that spurred him on in the final against Iran’s Amir Sarkhosh, where a stirring comeback from 4-2 down saw him become the second-youngest winner in the history of the world championship with a 6-5 triumph. Ahsan is only the third Pakistani winner at the event, following in the footsteps of the trailblazing Mohammad Yousuf, who won in 1994, and Asif, who captured the title in 2012 and 2019. In this year’s championship in Doha, Pakistan had three representatives in the semi-finals, with Mohammad Sajjad losing to Amir in the other last-four clash. In the shorter Asian 6-Reds event, which concludes this week, Asif fell in the semi-finals, assuring a bronze for Pakistan.
In a nerve-wracking final held in Doha, Ramzan, who was seeded 27th in the tournament, overcame the more skilled Amir Sarkosh of Iran by a set score of 6-5. At one point Amir Sarkosh was leading the game by 3-5, and only needed a single set to win the world title. However, Ahsan Ramzan did not crumble under pressure he kept his composure and with great control and determination pulled the game back in his favour and ultimately won the IBSF World Snooker Championship title. Ramzan won the final with scores of 63-60, 91-0(70), 56-34, 01-102(102), 28-68, 27-66, 86-18, 1-70, 69-0, 63-17 and 67-25.
This was Pakistan’s fourth IBSF World Snooker title. Mohammad Asif had previously won the prize twice, and Mohammad Yousaf once. Veteran Mohammad Asif was beaten in the semi-finals by Ahsan Ramzan. The youngster broke down in tears after defeating his senior, as Mohammad Asif embraced him out of love and respect. After his father died three years ago, Ahsan dropped out of school and pursued a career in professional snooker. He had previously lost his mother when he was four years old. Ahsan Ramzan has overcome all the disadvantages that came in his way and has gallantly proved his talent in snooker yet again vindicating the dominance of human will against adversity.
These victories in a highly valued game that is watched by millions of households that merits government support and patronage. It is a pity to report that the Pakistan Billiards and Snooker Federation (PBSA) has been requesting for financial assistance but to no avail. It is reported in this context that the federation has not received an annual grant from the Pakistan Sports Board for the last four years. In fact, finances are so bad that monthly payments to centrally contracted players have been on hold. Moreover, the PBSA says that the government grant for foreign trips by players to represent Pakistan too has not been fully paid to it. In wake of the excellent performances of Pakistani snooker stars it has become mandatory for official sports circles to start providing financial assistance so that the players are financially secure and able to concentrate on the sport. TW

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Umair Jalali teaches in Denning Law School and is an avid sports fan


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