Doha set to host top Asian cueists

 16 Apr 2016 - 0:18

Doha set to host top Asian cueists
Former amateur world champion Mohammad Asif of Pakistan is expected to give tough fight to India’s top seed Pankaj Advani (right) at the Asian Snooker Championship starting today in Doha.  


By Armstrong Vas


Doha:  Eight Qatari players will be seen in action at the Asian Snooker Championship which kicks off at the Qatar Billiards and Snooker Federation (QBSF) Academy here today.
Ahmed Saif, Ali Alobaidli, Mohsin Al Abdulrahman, Mohsen Bukshaisha, Mhanaa Alobaidli, Bashar Abdulmajeed, Khalid Alsalem, Abdulatif Alfawal will represent the host nation.
Around 60 players from 20 countries are participating in the biggest snooker event in Asia, organisers of the event told the media here yesterday.  
The players have been divided into 12 groups for the preliminary rounds.
“The winner of this championship will be eligible to represent his country in the Pro Circuit,” informed an official of QBSF.
Last year, Hamza Akbar of Pakistan won the event and is now part of the Pro Circuit. Last year’s runner-up Pankaj Advani of India is top seed of the championship.
Advani, the holder of 15 world titles across Billiards and Snooker, is aiming to add the Asian Snooker Championship title to his collection.
The Indian has won the world title in both the long and short format of the game but the Asian Snooker title is a trophy which is missing from his cabinet. 
Last year, Advani lost to Akbar in a closely contested final match with a close 6-7 score-line,
Advani said the challenge of winning the Asian Snooker title for the first time would be tough, yet extremely exciting. 
“This is my first snooker tournament of the year and as the only cueist who plays both billiards and snooker over the last five years now, it is still often not the smoothest transition,” the veteran Indian cueist commented.   
“Getting into the mind-space for snooker has required a mental transition over the last one month, which I consciously have worked on. Every competition in all formats of the sport has always presented its own challenges and competition and it’s the excitement in conquering those challenges that keeps me going,” he added.
Advani will face a tough challenge from former amateur world champion Mohammad Asif of Pakistan, the second seed. Asif, won the world amateur champion in 2012.
The other three Pakistani cueists, Mohammad Bilal, Sohail Shahzad and Mohammad Sajjad, feature in Groups C, D and J, respectively.
All the league matches up to the pre-quarters stage will be best of 7 frames while the quarter-finals and the semi-finals will be best of 9 frames.
The final will be played on April 23 at 11:00 am and will be a best of 11 frames affair.
The winner of the event will get $3,500 and the runner-up $1,750. 
The losing semi-finalists will collect $500 each. 
The organisers have also have line up cash awards for the highest break and maximum break. 
The cueman with the highest break (over 100 pts) will pocket $500 and those with maximum break  (above 147) is set to go home with $1,750. Today’s action begins at 10.00am and while the day’s action ends with the 7.00pm clashes. The Peninsula