Dubai: New IBSF world snooker champion Mohammad Asif said he had achieved a lifetime ambition after matching the achievement of fellow Pakistani Mohammad Yousaf.
Asif beat England’s Gary Wilson 10-8 in the final of this year’s championship in Sofia, Bulgaria, on Sunday to become only the second winner of the tournament from Pakistan in its 49-year history. Yousaf won in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1994, while Mohammad Saleh was runner-up to India’s Pankaj Advani in 2003.
“It’s unbelievable, I’m just counting my breath,” Asif told The Express Tribune. “It’s [what] I have been chasing for the past 10 years. I can’t believe that I have achieved what Yousaf bhai achieved so many years ago.”
On his way to the final, Asif, who was making his fourth appearance in the championship, knocked out Australia’s Vinnie Calabrese 5-0 in the first round before getting the better of Egypt’s Wael Talaat 5-2 in the pre-quarter-final.
In the last-eight stage he eased past Mer Alkojah, of Syria, 6-2 and then outclassed Malta’s Alex Borg 7-1 to reach the final.
The match-up with Wilson was a best-of-19 affair and Asif opened up a 6-3 lead in the first session. However, the Englishman scored a break of 111 in the 12th frame as he fought back to level the scores at 7-7.
But after they shared the next two frames, Asif maintained his focus and secured the title by winning the next two frames.
“I have been dethroned,” Yousaf was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune. “Now I can’t say that I am the only snooker world champion from Pakistan — I feel a little jealous now.
“But I am happy. Asif’s win is more than that, it is good news for Pakistanis in the middle of so much bad that is going on in the country. Asif has just opened the door for other players in Pakistan.”