KARACHI: As many as 54 cueists from all over the country will be in action in the Jubilee Insurance 43rd National Snooker Championship 2018 which gets under way here at the Karachi Gymkhana on Monday (today).
Two cueists from Balochistan, Mahmood Khan and Ubaid Khan, were added to the list of participants at the eleventh hour by the Pakistan Billiards & Snooker Association (PBSA).
“On the request of their association, we have decided to extend their quota to eight from six and therefore the number of participants in the Nationals has been increased to 54 from the earlier planned 52,” PBSA president Munawwar Hussain Shaikh informed ‘The International News’ on Sunday.
The top 12 cueists of the last year have been granted direct entry, eight cueists each have qualified from the provincial cups of Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan, three have qualified from the Islamabad Cup, alongwith four top junior cueists and three wild card entrants.
The PBSA has granted wild cards to Imran Shahzad, who recently defended his National Masters title successfully, Asif Toba and Majid Ali, all of them from Punjab. The cueists have been divided in eight groups for the preliminary rounds at the end of which the top two cueists from each group will advance to the knockout phase starting with the pre-quarter-finals on February 18. The event concludes with the final on February 21.
Asjad Iqbal, Muhammad Asif, Muhammad Bilal, Shahid Aftab, Mubashir Raza, Zulfiqar Abdul Qadir, Khurram Hussain Agha and Babar Masih are the eight seeded cueists entering the competition, which offers prize money of Rs272,000. The winner will collect Rs100,000 and the runner-up Rs50,000.
Today’s Fixtures: Ahsan Javaid (Pjb) v Umair Alam (Sindh); Bahadur Khan (Bal) v Muhammad Abdullah (KP), Rambail Gul (KP) v Saeed Ahmed (Bal); Khurram Hussain Agha (Sindh) v Imran Shahzad (Pjb); Babar Masih (Pjb) v Sharjeel Mahmood (KP); Abdul Sattar (Sindh) v Ahmed Shah (Bal); Muhammad Ijaz (Pjb) v Samiullah (Bal); Sohail Shahzad (Sindh) v Muhammad Sajjad (Pjb); Haris Tahir (Sindh) v Sultan Muhammad (Sindh); Asjad Iqbal (Pjb) v Ian Mark John (Sindh); Muhammad Asif (Pjb) v Sarbuland Khan (KP); Shaikh Mudassir v Muhammad Imran (KP); Muhammad Umar (Pjb) v Rashid Mahmood Abbasi (Isb); Jahangir Yar Muhammad (Bal) v Haider Ali (Pjb); Naseem Akhtar (Pjb) v Haris Nadeem (Sindh); Muhammad Bilal (Pjb) v Abdul Javaid (Pjb); Shahid Aftab (Pjb) v Fazal Umar Butt (Sindh); Usman Ahmed (Pjb) v Tariq Ali (Bal); Muhammad Shahbaz (Pjb) v Aakash Rafique (KP); Agha Bilawal (Sindh) v Aamir Sohail (KP); Musaddiq Mahmood (Isb) v Farhan Noor (Pjb).