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September 12, 2019

Pakistani snooker champions struggle for reward and recognition


Thu, Sep 12, 2019

KARACHI: If any sport which has kept Pakistan on top in the last few years, it is Snooker. However, the players of the sport are still struggling to get even the limelight and appreciation, forget other incentives.

In the last few years, Pakistani cueists have brought several titles, most recently in SAARC Championship where Pakistan’s Asjad and Bilal contested the final after ousting Indian opponents in the semi final, Asjad was the eventual winner of the final.

In June, Pakistan’s Babar Masih and Zulfiqar Qadir had won the Asian team championship. Earlier, the duo of Asjad and Bilal had downed India to win the IBSF World Team Snooker Championship. Bilal had also won the Asian Tour of 10-reds Snooker Championship this year.

However, the players are yet to receive any appreciation.

On Thursday, the duo released a video message expressing their pain on not being recognized enough for their achievements.

They also highlighted how they spent money from their own pockets and by borrowing money from others to participate in World Team Championship, which they won.

However, no incentives were given.

“Forget incentives, we don’t want it, just help us to such extent that we can return the money we have borrowed from others,” said Asjad in the video message.

“When we were going for World Championship, PBSA bore half of our expenses while the rest of the amount was to bore by us. We borrowed some money. I had some money to lay-down roof of my house and I spent that money on my travel for the championship,” said Bilal.

Asjad, while talking to The News, added cricketers get all attentions, even if they don’t win.

“Are we not winners? Are we not sportsmen of this country,” questioned Asjad Iqbal while talking to The News.

“Cricketers, even if they don’t win, earn in millions and we don’t get even few words of appreciation,” he rued.

Adding insult to their injuries is the fact that the monthly remuneration these champions get from their sports federation, PBSA, is less than the minimum wage set in the country of at least 15,000.

Selected set of players get between 8,000 to 12,000 from PBSA.

However, the PBSA says that they don’t have enough resources to give big money to players.

“We have limited resources, we are doing whatever is possible for us. We are trying to get them jobs and we have got for some, but we have a limit as well. PSB and government should come forward and support Snooker,” said PBSA president Munawar Sheikh.

The misery of Pakistan’s Snooker players – who have brought laurels for the country – highlights reasons for Pakistan’s overall decline in sports.