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Sunday December 05, 2021

Sajjad tames giant-killing Ahsan to regain national snooker title

October 12, 2021

KARACHI: Second seed Muhammad Sajjad annexed the national crown for the fourth time by elbowing out unseeded Ahsan Ramzan in the fiercely-fought final of the NBP 46th National Snooker Championship 2021 here at the NBP Sports Complex in Clifton on Monday.

The title clash went to the full distance of 13 frames with Sajjad finally winning it 7-6 with the scores of 46-63, 72-33, 0-68, 7-72, 71-13, 14-59, 64-24, 75-62, 1-80, 103-27, 61-72, 121-13, 60-50.

The master craftsman from Sargodha had captured the national title in 2008, 2010 and 2017. Sajjad also set a national record of chalking up the first-ever maximum break of 147 in the quarter-finals.

The young Ahsan, who created a sensation by toppling quite a few seeded cueists on his way to the final, very nearly pulled off yet another upset. Ahsan drew the first blood before Sajjad recovered to take the second frame. Ahsan moved into 3-1 lead by pocketing the next couple of frames but Sajjad reduced the deficit by winning fifth frame.

The youngster regained two-frame lead by running away with the sixth frame before Sajjad drew level by snatching the next two frames which included a superb break of 65 in the eighth frame.

Ahsan moved ahead again by winning the ninth frame but Sajjad made it 5-all with another majestic break of 80 in the tenth frame. The final tilted more towards Ahsan’s way when he grabbed the eleventh frame which meant he was just a frame away from glory and the pressure was on Sajjad to make another comeback which he did. The experienced campaigner constructed a wonderful break of 121 in the twelfth frame to draw level and he continued to demonstrate his pedigree by winning the tensely fought last frame.

Sajjad collected a cheque of Rs100,000 from NBP President Arif Usmani, who was the chief guest at the prize distribution ceremony. He announced another award of Rs147,000 for Sajjad for his record making break of 147.

More cash awards flowed for the new national champion as PBSA president Jawed Karim presented him Rs50,000. PBSA vice president Abdul Wahid Qadir rewarded him with another cheque of Rs50,000 on behalf of his company Dany/Audionic. Sajjad also received the cash award of Rs10,000 for registering the highest break of the tournament.