Qualifying for pro circuit my sole aim: Asif

Pakistan cueist disappointed with Asian Championship exit; vows to make amends

Nabeel Hashmi April 28, 2016

KARACHI: While former IBSF world champion Muhammad Asif’s hopes of qualifying for next season’s professional world snooker circuit ended after his quarter-final defeat to Thailand’s Kritsanut Lertsattayathorn at the Asian Championship taking place in Qatar last week, the 33-year-old is not giving up on his dream yet.

Asif had previously qualified to play in the professional circuit when he won the IBSF World Championship in 2012, but wasn’t able to apply in time to make the final list and missed out on the opportunity to play alongside the world’s best snooker players.

Since then, the Faisalabad-based cueist has been giving his all to either win the IBSF World Championship or the Asian Championship, both of which serve as qualifiers for the prestigious circuit.

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“I’m really sad that I got knocked out from the Asian Championship. My sole aim was to win the event and gain entry in the professional circuit,” Asif told The Express Tribune.

Recently, Hamza Akbar returned from his stint at the professional circuit and Asif praised the youngster for making the nation proud.

“I feel happy for Hamza as he is fighting at the highest level and making the country proud. I want to do the same because I’ve won so many titles for Pakistan. I want to make amends for the opportunity I missed last time,” said Asif.

Asian Snooker Championship: Asif only Pakistani left in competition

Asif was beaten 5-4 by Lertsattayathorn in the last-eight match with the former leading 4-3 at one stage. But despite his lead, he was unable to stop the Thai player running away with the win.

Other Pakistanis, Muhammad Sajjad, Muhammad Bilal and Sohail Shahzad, also crashed out of the event and Asif was extremely critical of how Pakistan’s contingent played in Qatar.

“It’s not the sort of result which pleases us to be honest. We’re disappointed that we couldn’t vie for title and if I take my example, I was unlucky as Lertsattayathorn hit big breaks in the last two frames, leaving me with no chance whatsoever,” said Asif. “We all should have performed better.”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 28th, 2016.

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