Sunday February 05, 2023

Pakistan’s teen prodigy Ahsan becomes world snooker champion

March 12, 2022

KARACHI: Youth prevailed over experience as Pakistan’s 16-year-old Ahsan Ramzan came from behind to edge out Iran’s 30-year-old Amir Sarkhosh in the tensely fought 11-frame final of the IBSF World Men Snooker Championship in Doha on Friday.

The teenage Ahsan became the third Pakistani, after Muhammad Yousuf (1994) and Muhammad Asif (2012 and 2019), to have annexed the crown.

Amir could have become the third Iranian, after Hossein Vafaei (2011) and Soheil Vahedi (2016), to lift the coveted trophy but he had to pay the price of getting defensive after running into a 5-3 lead which helped Ahsan stage a comeback as the youngster pocketed the next three frames in a row to win the contest 6-5 with the scores of 63-60, 91-0, 56-34, 1-102, 28-68, 27-66, 86-18, 1-70, 69-0, 63-17, 67-25.

The rub of the green also went Ahsan’s way as his opponent committed too many unforced errors which proved decisive in what turned out to be a marathon encounter lasting five hours and 15 minutes.

After narrowly winning the opening frame, Ahsan doubled his lead with a break of 70 in the second frame. Amir regained his touch with a classy century break in the fourth frame and he seemed to have all the cards in his pocket when he won the eighth frame which put him 5-3 ahead.

Needing just a solitary frame to lay his hand on the trophy, Amir made what turned out to be a fatal mistake by adopting safety-first approach which enabled Ahsan, playing with complete freedom, to keep potting at will. Ultimately the tables were turned and the youngster from Pakistan emerged as the new champion.

Earlier, in the semifinals held on Thursday evening, Ahsan had dethroned compatriot Muhammad Asif 5-4 with the frame scores of 63-71, 21-60, 76-50, 75-51, 64-65, 63-46, 39-68, 69-62, 62-60.

Amir had eliminated Pakistan’s Muhammad Sajjad 5-4 with the scores of 64-32, 59-47, 77-25, 18-62, 103-14, 30-59, 9-75, 24-58, 66-1.

Ali Asghar Valika, Patron-in-Chief of Pakistan Billiards & Snooker Association (PBSA), and Abdul Wahid Qadir, Senior Vice President, extended greetings to Ahsan.