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ISLAMABAD: January 16 - Japanese Ambassador Kuninori Matsuda in a group photo during closing ceremony of 9th Islamabad Cup Snooker Championship organized by Islamabad Billiards and Snooker Association at Pakistan Sports Complex. APP photo by Saleem Rana

Shani clinches IBSA Cup

ISLAMABAD (APP): Shani Masih on Thursday clinched the seniors’ category of the Islamabad Billiards and Snooker Association (IBSA) Cup 2019-20 played here at the Pakistan Sports Complex.

Shani beat Raja Munawar by 4-2 in the final. In the under 21 category, Imran Khan outplayed Abdullah by 4-3 while in the U-18 category, Kamran Chaudhary downed Zohaib Mustafa by 4-2. In the Master (40 plus) category, Arshad Qureshi defeated Zafar Iqbal by 4-2.

Japanese Ambassador Kuninori Matsuda, who was the chief guest on the occasion, distributed trophies among the winners. He recalled the 1964 Summer Olympics at Tokyo where Pakistan hockey team was in the final but was unfortunately outplayed by India by 0-1.

“Pakistan introduced field hockey in Japan and coaches were also called from Pakistan,” he said. The ambassador said cricket was also thriving in Japan. “There are about 300 clubs registered with the Japanese Cricket Association and the game is flourishing in the country,” he said and added the Japanese cueists were also waiting to play against their Pakistani counterparts.

He said he had urged the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to increase its direct flights from Islamabad to Japan so that more and more Pakistanis could come to Tokyo and enjoy the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. On the occasion, IBSA President Senator Dr Shahzad Waseem said the game of snooker was one of the popular sports after cricket in Pakistan.“Snooker is played even in small towns.”

He said the IBSA had been organizing the tournament for the last nine years, with the number of categories increasing every year. “Players have been competing in Senior (Open), Masters (40 plus), Under21, U18 and U16,” he said. An exhibition match was also played on the occasion between World Champion Muhammad Asif and top cueist Babar Masih.

Asif, who was awarded a cash prize of Rs 50,000, thanked the IBSA ,and the Rawalpindi Billiards and Snooker Association (RBSA) for honouring him.

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