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Asif World Snooker Champ

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

asif-snooker-file-6701Muhammad Asif became Pakistan’s first world snooker champion since 1994 after defeating England’s Gary Wilson in Bulgaria this week. Asif was victorious at the IBSF World Championship with a 10-8 victory in the finals in the capital city of Bulgaria. Asif is the third Pakistani to reach the final of the amateur World Championship; earlier Yousaf won the title in 1994, whereas Mohammad Saleh lost to India’s Pankaj Advani in 2004.

This was the 30-year-old Asif’s fourth appearance in the World Championships, but prior to this year he had failed to finish better than the round of 32. On his way to the title this year, Asif dispatched of oppononents from Australia, Egypt, Syria, and Malta before taking out his British opponent in the final round.

“It’s unbelievable, I’m just counting my breath, its what I have been chasing for the past 10 years,” Asif told The Express Tribune. “I can’t believe that I have achieved what Yousaf bhai achieved so many years ago.”

“I have been dethroned,” was reportedly the initial reaction from former champion Mohammad Yousaf. The 60-year-old Yousaf was following Asif’s match online back at his home in Rawalpindi. “Now I can’t say that I am the only Snooker World Champion from Pakistan, I feel a little jealous now,” he declared. “But I am happy. Asif’s win is more than that, it is good news for Pakistanis in the middle of so much bad that is going on in the country. Asif has just opened the door for other players in Pakistan.” Asif is the third Pakistani to reach final of the world event. Before him, Mohammad Yousuf had won it in 1994 while, in 2003, Saleh Mohammad was defeated by Pankaj Advani of India.

Asif received a hero’s welcome in the wee hours of the night upon his return to Karachi, Pakistan. He was welcomed by relatives, fans and Snooker Association officials at Jinnah International Airport. He credited his parents and fans prayers for winning the title. “There was no one to guide me during the tournament, but I hold my nerves to achieve this victory,” he said addressing the crowd. “I wanted to thank Snooker Association, which arranged funds for sending the boys to the championship.”


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