Asian Snooker Championship: India’s Pankaj Advani storms into semi-finalsSeptember 16, 2021
India’s legendary cueist Pankaj Advani, the defending champion, stormed into the semi-finals of 36th Asian Snooker Championship at the Al Messila, a luxury collection resort & spa, in Doha, Qatar on Wednesday brushing aside the challenge of Alijalil Ali from Iraq 11-64, 84-76, 12-70, 64-32, 78-1, 80(64)-0, 54-68, 57-4 in the best of nine frames.
In the pre-quarterfinals held in the morning, Alijalil blanked Laxman Rawat, another Indian in the fray, 71-12, 66-44, 75-29, 72-61 while Pankaj showed the exit door to fancied Tam Yun Fung of Hong Kong 33-70, 90-01, 74-60, 119(80)-08, 13-65, 55-24.
In the group matches, both the Indians pocketed a century each. Laxman, a 2019 World 6Reds champion, in Group ‘F’ scored one against Omar Alajlani of Saudi Arabia while Pankaj, a 23-time World champion, had one against Ali Hussein of Iraq in the last Group ‘A’ match. Pankaj is the only player who has won the title in all forms of billiards, snooker, 6Reds, and 10Reds competitions.
The semi-final, best of nine frames, against Cheung Ka Wai also of Hong Kong and final, best of 11 frames, will be played on Thursday. Amir Sarkhosh of Iran and Haris Tahir of Pakistan will square off in the other semifinal.
Laxman will return home while Pankaj will stay back to compete in the Qatar 6Red World Cup starting Friday.
Sarkhosh and Siyavosh Mozayani of Iran, Tahir, Khalid Kamali of the UAE and Saleh Mohammed of Afghanistan were the other winners emerging from the round of 16.
Fancied Babar Masih of Pakistan, Habib Subah of Bahrain, Tam and Khamis Alobaidli of Qatar fell by the wayside before reaching the quarterfinals.
The event is the first event for billiards and snooker since March 2020. At least 42 players from 19 countries participated in the Asian championship including Pakistan, India, Iraq, UAE, Qatar, Nepal, Iran, Hong Kong, Jordan, Palestine, Oman, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria and Mongolia players.
Aditya Mehta, 2012 Asian champ and national reigning snooker champion, was to compete here instead of Laxman but failed to make it due to Covid protocol as he is vaccinated with a single dose. The protocol is clear that all travellers to Qatar have to be fully inoculated to enter the Gulf country.
Asian snooker is the first major international championship for Indian cueists after a 19-month break due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Another Indian, Ishpreet Singh will compete in the Qatar 6Red World Cup from September 17 to 21 along with national 6Reds champion Pankaj.
Results (Indians only) Group A: Pankaj Advani bt Ankit Man Shrestha of Nepal 4-0 (70-23, 67-43, 75-01, 70(62)-05); bt Mohammed Sharshani of Qatar 4-0 (73-01, 96-09, 120(70)-05, 53-21); bt Abdulrahman Saif of the UAE 4-0 (80(70)-31, 69-56, 74-44, 64-07);
Group F: Laxman Rawat bt Ahmed Jabhan of Yemen : 4-0 (68-13, 83-28, 64-17, 74-17); bt Mohammad Al-Binali of Qatar : 4-0 (64(64)-09, 79-02, 76-22, 83(56)-09); bt Omar Alajlani of Saudi 4-2 (36-66, 109(109)-25, 72-23, 67-30, 39-79(56), 64-52)