Experienced Sajjad thumps Haris to lift NBP ranking snooker title


KARACHI: Showing clear signs of resurgence after a long layoff, former celebrity Mohammad Sajjad thumped promising Haris Tahir 8-6 in the best of 15 frames final to recapture the 12th National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) Ranking Snooker Championship for the third time at bank’s sports complex here on Tuesday.

Sajjad, who is also former national champion, had earlier won the NBP title twice in 2009 and 2014.

Sajjad won the exciting showdown 56-27, 59-55, 60-17, 106-31, 20-61, 66-45, 33-74, 66-5, 11-67, 60-63, 17-73, 57-42, 27-63, 129-0.

“I was confident of making a comeback and I did it after three years,” a jubilant Sajjad told Dawn after the triumph.

He said the victory has given him a leap of 10 places from 12th to two in the national ranking. He was of full praise for prodigy Haris for putting up commendable performance at the senior level.

After shining at the junior level, it was a phenomenal rise for 20-year-old Haris who entered the contest on wildcard as national U-21 champion.

It is pertinent to mention that Haris had also pocketed the national U-18 title last year.

“I’ve trained hard under the supervision of my coach former Pakistan No 1 Imran Shahzad and am happy with performance,” he told Dawn.

Haris, who is junior international, received a big boost when NBP chief announced upgradation of his jpost to contract level besides Naseem Akhtar.

The performance of Haris has also proved Dawn’s curtain-raiser of theevent correct that juniors are likely to pose serious challenge to seniors.

At the outset, experience made the difference between the two cueists as Sajjad, 35, settled quickly and raced to take 4-0 lead in the final.

Haris made a breakthrough by taking the fifth and seventh frames but trailed 2-6.

He again came back into the match by taking next three frames to narrow the deficit 5-6.

Sajjad took the 12th frame only to lose 13th before grabbing the next to establish his authority.

A beaming Sajjad received glittering trophy and a cash prise of Rs100,000 from the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) President Mr. Arif Usmani amidst applause

Haris received runner-up trophy and runner-up purse of Rs40,000.

The Pakistan Billiards and Snooker Federation (PBSF) top hierarchy Munawwar Hussain Shaikh, Zulfiqar Ramza and former president Alamgir Shaikh were also present besides bank’s other senior executives..

Final result:

Mohammad Sajjad (Punjab) bt Haris Tahir (Punjab) 8-6 (56-27, 59-55, 60-17, 106-31, 20-61, 66-45, 33-74, 66-5, 11-67, 60-63, 17-73, 57-42, 27-63, 129-0).