IBSF World Championship: Asif clinches world snooker crown

Published: December 3, 2012

This was Asif’s fourth appearance in the tournament. His previous best run at the event was last year; he was ranked among the top 32 cueists at the time. PHOTO: AYESHA MIR/EXPRESS

KARACHI: 

Muhammad Asif became the second Pakistani cueist to win the IBSF World Snooker Championship in Sofia, Bulgaria, after overpowering England’s Gary Wilson 10-8 in a thrilling final on Sunday night.

Muhammad Yousuf was the first Pakistani to clinch the world amateur crown in South Africa in 1994. “I have been dethroned,” were Yousaf’s first words over Asif’s victory.

Two-time national champion Muhammad Asif, who was unbeaten in the tournament, won the title after defeating England’s Gary Wilson 10-8 in a match lasting over nine hours.

Thirty-year-old Asif, from Faisalabad, is the third Pakistani to reach the final of the amateur World Championship as well – Yousaf won the title in 1994, whereas Muhammad Saleh lost to India’s Pankaj Advani in 2004.

This was Asif’s fourth appearance in the tournament. His previous best run at the event was last year; he was ranked among the top 32 cueists at the time.

Asif started off his campaign in Bulgaria with confidence, defeating Australia’s Vinnie Calabrese 5-0 in the first round. He overcame Egypt’s Wael Talaat 5-2 in the pre-quarterfinal, crushed Syria’s Mer Alkojah 6-2 in the quarterfinal and outclassed Malta’s Alex Borg 7-1 in the semifinal to make it to the final.

He started Sunday’s match confidently as well, taking a 6-3 lead at the end of the first session in the best of 19-frame final. The 30-year-old continued the match at 7-5 despite Wilson’s break of 111 in the 12th frame.

However, Wilson regained his focus in the subsequent two frames, equalising the score 7-7.

The two battled in the 14th frame. Asif claimed it only to lose the next one as Wilson forced the break of 59 in the 16th frame.

Asif

Asif bounced back, however, leading 9-8 and sealing victory in the 17th frame at 64-0 to clinch the trophy.

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

Meanwhile, the 60-year-old former world champion Yousaf, who was following Asif’s match online back at his home in Rawalpindi, said he feels he has been dethroned by Asif.

“Now I can’t say that I‘m the only snooker world champion from Pakistan, I feel a little jealous now,” said Yousaf.

“But I am happy, Asif’s win is good news for Pakistanis, especially considering everything bad that is going on in the country. Asif has just opened the door for other players in Pakistan. He just made history and I can tell you that he changed more than his own fortunes. His victory at the world championship will help Pakistani snooker in a great way.”

Offering advice to the new world champion, Yousaf said he will have to continue with his form in order to maintain the title.

Chairman of Pakistan Billiards and Snooker Association (PBSA) and Vice President of International Billiards and Snooker Federation (IBSF) Asghar Valika described Muhammad Asif’s triumph as another golden moment in the history of Pakistan sports.

“Asif’s triumph will again boost and revive the sport in the country. I am absolutely delighted with this win,” said Asghar Valika, under whose Muhammad Yousuf won the title in Johannesburg in 1994.

“It’s great news for Asian snooker fraternity as this is second time when world title came to this continent after Iran’s Hossein Vafaei Ayouri l won the crown,” said a beaming Valika.

He said Asif’s victory was of great significance because he achieved this without any technical support and presence of a coach.

President of Sindh Billiards and Snooker Association Jamil Sakrani announced Rs100,000 for Muhammad Asif.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf also extended his heartiest felicitations to Asif on his victory.

In his message, the premier said that the whole nation is proud of his victory and wishes him many more in future as well.

(With additional input from AGENCIES)

Published in The Express Tribune, December 3rd, 2012.

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Reader Comments (26)

  • zafar
    Dec 3, 2012 - 3:37AM

    congrats Asif, well done

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  • Hukka
    Dec 3, 2012 - 5:05AM

    It’s a non professional league per Wikipedia

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  • Abdul Qayyum Bhatti
    Dec 3, 2012 - 6:17AM

    It is shame that PM only shows ” proud” for Asif’s victory without any monetary reward for this talanted guy who lime lighted Pakistan in times of barrage of propaganda in international media to portray The nation as terrorist. Thanks to Jamil Sakrani for announcing 100 000 for Asif.

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  • Anonymous
    Dec 3, 2012 - 7:55AM

    @hukka
    so what….a world champion is world champion….!!!!!
    bravo…..asif………we are proud of you………………Recommend

  • aa
    Dec 3, 2012 - 7:57AM

    @hukka
    so what….a world champion is world champion….!!!!!
    bravo…..asif………we are proud of you………………Recommend

  • M
    Dec 3, 2012 - 8:20AM

    Yayyyy!!! Some good news at last! Asif, you have done us all proud! May God bless you!

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  • Pashtun voice
    Dec 3, 2012 - 8:20AM

    sounds like a one day cricket match

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  • stand up4 the champions
    Dec 3, 2012 - 8:46AM

    congrats man! Pakistan salutes u!

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  • Zohaib Uddin Khan
    Dec 3, 2012 - 9:16AM

    Congrats Champ!!

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  • Imran
    Dec 3, 2012 - 9:44AM

    Congrats man. Pakistan Zindabad.

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  • Qasim
    Dec 3, 2012 - 9:47AM

    @Hukka – If only you knew what ‘amateur’ means… and what have you done in life???

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  • MoniShaikh
    Dec 3, 2012 - 9:56AM

    well done asif. keep it up! we need champions in squash and tennis as well. you will be an inspiration for the young players of the country.Recommend

  • Mishrab
    Dec 3, 2012 - 10:03AM

    Congratulations to Mr. Asif…..you brought pride for your parents and nation.

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  • ZZQ
    Dec 3, 2012 - 10:03AM

    Way to go… Some good news for Pakistan at last. Salute to the resolve of Asif who managed to reach such epitome without support of Govt. bodies responsible for it.

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  • Kamran Naqvi
    Dec 3, 2012 - 10:10AM

    Another good news for Pakistan in 2012, after numerous World Records made in Punjab Sports festival.

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  • Waqar
    Dec 3, 2012 - 10:11AM

    Sorry, but this is not even a recognized event by Snooker Federation. Ronnie O’sullivan is the actual World Snooker Champion.Recommend

  • Enlightened
    Dec 3, 2012 - 10:28AM

    Congratulations to Asif and Pakistan for his grand victory.

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  • Ali Zaid
    Dec 3, 2012 - 10:55AM

    Congratulations Asif sahab!
    Wish this government reward you with loads of cash prices and recognise as a national hero like cricketers…

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  • M. Amir Ch.
    Dec 3, 2012 - 11:07AM

    Congratulation!
    Really it’s a big achievement.

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  • nak
    Dec 3, 2012 - 1:39PM

    heads off to you ASIF BHAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII :)

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  • Tauheed
    Dec 3, 2012 - 3:32PM

    Congrats! you are the champRecommend

  • Sajjad
    Dec 3, 2012 - 6:00PM

    Congrats to asif, well played. But (Hukka) is right this is not the main world championship. Like boxing have IBF, WBO and others etc similarly and WPBSA is the more famous and known federation than IBSF. None of the top 10 players participated in this event they all are playing in some UK championship these days. O’Sullivan the great player played mostly in WPBSA tournaments. World snooker championship held by WPBSA is considered the top tournamnt of snooker like a world cup, whose next edition is in 2013. But take nothing away from asif he has won a top level championship.

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  • sam
    Dec 3, 2012 - 9:05PM

    Congatulations buddy

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  • Hukka
    Dec 4, 2012 - 12:39AM

    @Qasim:
    What do you know about my achievements? I was just pointing to a fact. Bitter truth. Well lets celebrate euphoria.

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  • Hass
    Dec 4, 2012 - 2:05AM

    @ hukka
    Dude chill out, enjoy a good thing, the story says its amateur championship. read tou kerlou…..Pakistan zindabad.

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  • sajid A Saeed
    Dec 4, 2012 - 6:53PM

    For all those who are sort of undermining this young man,s achievement,just be a bit positive and encourage and cheer this man.If this poor fellow without any professional coaching or material resources can do what he did,who can deny tt he will do wonders in the professional world provided with a bit of backing and world class coaching.
    cheers Muhamad Asif

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