KARACHI: Muhammad Asif Toba stunned defending champion Hamza Akbar 8-5 in the final to win the 39th National Snooker Championship in style at Karachi Gymkhana Billiards Hall here on Monday. 34-year-old Asif, who gave superb performance throughout the event, emerged the deserving winner after being 2-4 down. Playing under an intense pressure after two-frame down, Asif reaffirmed his class with consistent potting to clinch the final after gruelling six hours contest. 21-year-old diminutive Hamza started brilliantly by grabbing the opening frame 73-38 with a break of 73. Asif staged a come back in the second and next two frames were played in the similar manner with the score tied at 2-2.
Hamza, playing tactical positional play and showing superior brand of potting, captured the next two frames to make it 4-2 including a break of 62 in third frame to consolidate his position. Afterwards it was all Asif as playing confidently he lost the penultimate frame before claiming the title.
Asif, who had represented Pakistan in 2011 IBSF World Snooker Championship, constructed the breaks of 64 and 52 at the fag end of the match. “It’s a dream come true to win this national title. I am now looking forward to perform well in the Asian Championship,” he said after winning the title. “It was hard-fought game. But I kept my nerves and focused on my game,” he added. He also lauded Hamza for his fighting qualities and giving him a tough challenge.
Commissioner Karachi Shoaib Siddiqui, who the chief guest, presented a glittering trophy and cash award of Rs.80,000 to Asif while Hamza Akbar collected Rs.50,000. Jubilee Insurance managing director Tahir Ahmed, Pakistan Billiards and Snooker Association (PBSA) president Alamgir Sheikh and other officials were also present on the occasion.
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