Mohammad Asif - one; media - zero!

He is the World's Amateur Champion, not the World Champion - there is a difference!

Syed Zahir December 03, 2012
Yesterday, my nation celebrated Mohammad Asif’s win as the new World Snooker Champion. A bit confused, I thought to myself, but hadn’t the Snooker championship already taken place this year? Hadn’t Ronnie O’Sullivan from England won the title in May 2012?

Then again, looking at the buzz of activity surrounding this news on my Twitter feed, Facebook timeline and other social media forums, I could have been wrong. While celebrations continued, I looked onto tweets saying “Pakistan is the new Snooker Champion” and “Pakistan has finally got the title back” and my curiosity drove me to Google.

Upon Googling the words ‘world snooker champion’ the first thing to pop up was “O Sullivan 2012 Final video”. This hardly surprised me. Curious now to know what tournament Mohammad Asif did in fact win, I performed another search and true to my gut feeling, the tournament he won was not the professional World Snooker Championship, as was claimed; it was the IBSF World Snooker Championship.

Similarly, after another quick search I also found out that Mohammad Yousuf had never won the professional World Snooker Championship either. He too, had only won the IBSF, a tournament, much inferior to the professional World Snooker Championship.

What startled me about the way the events surrounding this tournament played out was the fact that before yesterday, not one TV channel ever bothered to broadcast this snooker tournament! In fact, I don’t think I can recall any news anchor even utter the words “amateur Snooker Championship”. However, when time came to broadcast the tournament, because our fellow countryman had won, they made it look like this was the biggest snooker championship of all.

As a patriotic citizen, I too was thrilled at hearing that Pakistan’s name shone bright in the snooker circles as well. I couldn’t have been more proud of Mohammad Asif.

Having said as much, I do not believe that my enthusiasm, excitement and pride would have been any less, or would even suffer a damper, were I given the true facts instead of the exaggerated version broadcasted.

Why did news channels not highlight the fact that this was an amateur tournament?

Why were viewers deceived in to believing that we had won the World Championship?

This is a gross inaccuracy. Last I checked, Under-19 world Cups are highlighted as just that - Under 19 world cups. Our news anchors do not go around saying the Pakistan cricket team has won the World Cup.

Do you see the difference now?

Yes, it is the responsibility of the media to divulge information to the public in a manner that calls out to their nationalistic pride, but doing so without manipulating the facts is also their responsibility. As a nation, now we should look at things more pragmatically and understand the importance of the smaller events, which may finally lead us to the bigger events like the professional World Snooker Championship.

The government needs to take notice of this success, realise that it is an important stepping stone for all Pakistani’s and understand that it is now high time that such sports are given the right kind of attention. They should hone talent, setup workshops and facilitate other individuals interested in taking part in such tournaments. So far, apart from Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Yousuf, there are only two other sportsmen - Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan - to have won individual titles from Pakistan.

Individual sports like Snooker, Badminton, Tennis, Swimming etcetera should be encouraged and the government should provide monthly allowances to those who are really interested so they can concentrate fully on their sport of choice.

If we paint a picture for viewers that shows more than we have achieved, how will we create the drive needed to strive for bigger and better things?

Only a true picture, showing our true potential can raise awareness and help us improve further. Yes, this a matter of national pride, but let’s not sit on it like this was as far as it goes.

The sky is the limit and we have just started out!

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Follow Zahir on Twitter @sxahir.
Syed Zahir An Engineer at an oil and gas company. He is also a Business school graduate and tweets @sxahir
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Wajahat | 11 years ago | Reply @Blogger........ I can't really understand your point of view that you are either negating Asif's achievement or criticizing Media........... First of all Let me explain you that IBSF World Championship is neither a small event nor negligible........ its even bigger than Asian and other small events........ every member country is allowed to send two of his best National Players (Not Playing Professional Circuit), so its pretty tough event and no one can humiliate these players...... like you did. Now lets understand who can play professional circuit......... In Past Any Player who have won Amateur World title can Enter by paying GBP. 2,000 - 2,500, but now its changed........ Since 2011 any player of any level from anywhere in the world can enter the Q-School by paying GBP. 1,000; where he/she will be playing 3 tournaments during one month within United Kingdom; from every tournament 4 semifinalists will qualified and those 12 players will be awarded 2 years pass for the professional circuit. Where every player will be responsible for his accommodation, food, insurance and other expenses during the Q-School and Professional Tour for 2 years. Muhammad Asif is no doubt a very talented player, National Champion and consistently playing well since many years, and likewise many other players have great potential; but with deep grief I would like to tell you all that he and many other talented players belongs to poor families and could not afford such huge expenses thus can not enter to beat world famous English Champions They even can't afford reasonable hotels while playing national events in other cities, so they take very low class accommodation and transport during that period, while only winners get the reward...... it shouldn't be called reward because they get it in installments...........:( Every Player who qualifies the National Championship; earlier qualifies at his respective regional / provincial level then top players are entitled to play National Championship at their own cost............ at least they should be given boarding, lodging / TADA for the big event........... Now Lets come to the main point that how can these shining stars expect to participate in Q-School GBP. 1,000 and Almost Month stay in UK for Q-School, then 2 years for professional tour....... even if they qualify how can they afford living expenses there. Muhammad Asif was given contribution money by their native players and friends to afford IBSF World Championship, Earlier Muhammad Yousuf won numerous titles and gave fame to Pakistan and Pakistani Snooker..... but in return what he got...... he don't even have his own conveyance, living in rented house..... left his home city...... working in a chain of snooker clubs in Pakistan....... just to support his family......:( .....:( where is our media...... what is our government doing....... what is our so called snooker association doing............ Muhammad Asif have proved his competency level...... so any Government / Non-Government body can come-up and support him for playing Professional Circuit..... is there anyone who can do something rather than criticizing........? Hope everyone will be able to see the other side of picture now........... Regards, Wajahat Zafar.
Paperpk | 11 years ago | Reply Thanks to Muhammad Asif
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