Infected eyes upset world snooker champion

ISLAMABAD, March 19: The feeble eyesight of the reigning World Amateur Snooker Champion Mohammad Asif started to affect his career as he faced an upset defeat in the ongoing Pakistan’s National Championship being held in southern port city of Karachi. snookerAsif, 30, won the title of World Amateur Snooker Championship by defeating British national Gary Wilson 10-8 in the final lasting over nine hours in Bulgarian city of Sofia last December. The defending national champion Asif was the center of attraction as he was appearing first time in the 38th National Snooker Championship 2013 after wearing the world champion crown in Bulgaria. But in his first match of the event, a local unseeded cueist Mohammad Ishtiaq shocked Asif on the opening day of the event at Karachi Gymkhana. Asif, talking to Xinhua on Tuesday, termed his defeat an upset and said that the reason behind his defeat was his weakening eyesight. “I have been facing the issue of weakening eyesight caused by some infection, and it has been really affecting my game. Sometime during my play I feel unfocussed and cannot hit my target as per merit,” said Asif. The world champion said that the shortage of funds has been hampering his efforts to treat his eyes but showed his optimism to bound back in the national event to defend his title. Soon after his victory at the world snooker championship, Pakistani authorities, especially, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and the chief minister of eastern Punjab province extended their heartiest felicitations to Asif besides announcing cash awards and a permanent job in the government sector. Even after three months of the announcements, neither he received the promised cash awards nor he was given the job in the government. “There was no one (coach and manager) to help me in Bulgaria. I participated the world championship after getting donations for my boarding and lodging. After the promises of cash awards and job I was happy, but nothing was materialized,” said Asif. Asif, Pakistan’s two times national champion, is the second Pakistani cueist to win the World Snooker Championship after Muhammad Yousuf who clinched the world amateur crown in South Africa in 1994.–www.nzweek.com]]>

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