Pakistan News

SBP vows to help Hamza

SBP vows to help Hamza

LAHORE: Sports Board Punjab (SBP) on Thursday promised to help Hamza Akbar, Pakistan’s newly emerged Asian snooker champion, become a successful professional player.

Usman Anwar, SBP director general, made this announcement during a meeting with Hamza who won the continental title in Malaysia last month. In the final, Hamza overpowered Indian rival Pankaj Advani, a world champion and established professional cueist, 7-6.

With Hamza’s brilliant triumph, the premier continental title returned to Pakistan after 17 years. Last time, Pakistan’s former world champion Mohammad Yousuf clinched the Asian crown way back in 1998.

Though Usman did not announce any specific financial package for Hamza, he promised the SBP would provide the champion player maximum support in achieving his target of becoming a successful snooker professional to earn more laurels for the country.

Meanwhile, Hamza said after turning professional he would try his level best to earn more titles for Pakistan.

“The SBP and Punjab Youth Festival have a major role in my success,” Faisalabad-born Hamza said.

SBP director general had included snooker in the Festival some two years ago.

Hamza said his next target was only to play professional league in England. This league starts in July this year.

“Participation in this high-profile league requires significant funds and I’m confident that federal and Punjab governments, besides our snooker federation, will help me achieve this task,” he said.

When reminded that though Punjab had produced a number of international champions, the province had no infrastructure in government sector, and that players were being groomed only through local events in Karachi, Usman said the SBP would start building snooker clubs and soon several such centres would be seen throughout the province.

Published in Dawn, May 8th, 2015

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