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Brilliant Hamza eyes crucial points for renewal of pro season

KARACHI: Pakistan’s former Asian snooker champion Hamza Akbar said he needed to earn 30,000 ranking points in the remaining 13 qualifying competitions of the pro season for renewal of his contract with the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA).

“I’ve won one qualifier and lost two since the start of the season in June,” the 25-year-old Hamza, who is here these days on holidays, told Dawn at Karachi Gymkhana.

It is pertinent to mention that Hamza, who is also the former national champion, scaled new heights when he shocked one of the greatest cueist of the world Pankaj Advani of India 7-6 in the epic final of the 31st Asian Snooker Championship at Malaysia in 2015 to earn a two term contract spanning four years with the WPBSA.

Presently ranked 88th in the world pro circuit of the game, Hamza said he had arrived here from London recently to seek visa for the Indian Open but unfortunately, the event has been postponed due to floods in Kochi, Kerala State, where it was supposed to take place. Now it has been rescheduled in Feb 2019.

Hamza was awarded 2,000 ranking points after he defeated England’s Robbie Williams 4-2 (59-19, 31-94, 65-34, 78-51, 7-120, 135-0) with a fabulous break of 135 in the sixth frame last month to qualify for the main event in Kocki.

In the European Masters qualifiers that followed, he went down 2-4 to Ryan Day of the Wales the final scores being (65-32, 37-90, 9-67, 100-0, 72-16, 75-13.

He tasted 1-5 defeat at the hands of Mark Davis in the qualifiers for the China Open.

The former Asian champion said he will fly to London on Oct 3 where he competes in international championship qualifiers which start in Barnsley from Oct nine. The 64 winners will be eligible to travel to Peking where the event takes place from Oct 28 to Nov 4 with a draw of 128 cueists.

The snooker celebrity regretted that the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) had terminated his service in May this year on the pretext that the bank has no benefit as he is away from the country for the last three year.

Sources said the bank has hired former world under-18 championship Naseem Akhtar in place of Hamza.

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