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Al Joker bows out of snooker in Ashgabat

Medal chances take a knock due to weakened team

Gulf News

Dubai: The UAE’s Mohammad Al Joker has been knocked out at the final-32 stage of the snooker event at the fifth Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

Al Joker was beaten 4-2 by Afghanistan’s Mohammad Saleh to end his participation at the Games. He had already exited the billiards tournament.

“It is not easy to achieve a medal in snooker in the Games where several professional players from countries such as China and Iran are taking part,” Al Joker said.

“I think our preparation periods were not easy. These players have had sufficient preparation periods before the Games. Host country Turkmenistan has the largest number of medals in all sports. This indicates their good preparations and the high-level facilities.

“In the individual competition, there was no luck and I could have done better.”

In the chess tournament, the UAE men’s team of Jasem Al Ali and Othman Ebrahim lost to Iran in round one of rapid chess 0.5-1.5 points. The girls’ team of Wadeema Al Kilbani and Wafia Al Mamary also lost to Iran in the opening round of under-23 rapid chess.

Mahdi Abdul Rahim, the assistant secretary general of the UAE Chess Federation, said the absence of key players had an impact on the team’s chances of success.

“There were notable absentees among top players, such as Salem Abdul Rahman and Saeed Ishaq, which weakened our chances,” he said.

“In the girl events, only Wadeema and Wafia took part in the rapid chess. Both players competed against much better competitors but did well. The experience was useful.”

The UAE have 17 medals so far in jiu-jitsu, athletics and cycling, including five golds, and sit 14th in the medals table with only the rapid chess tournaments to come.

Faisal Al Ketbi won two gold medals in the jiu-jitsu open weight and under 94kg. Omar Al Fadly (under 56kg) and Talib Al Karbi (under 69kg) also took top spot on the podium.

In athletics, Aliaa Mohammad Saeed won the women’s 3,000 metres.

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