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UAE snooker coach wants good draw for players

Roe says Shehab and Al Joker primed to give their best at World Championship

Image Credit: Atiq-Ur-Rahman/Gulf News
Secretary-General Sultan Al Joker (left), UAEBSA Vice-President Mohammad Tamjid Abdullah (centre) and MedhatY. Yassa at the press conference yesterday.
Gulf News

Dubai: UAE snooker coach David Roe is confident that Mohammad Shehab and Mohammad Al Joker will not be lacking in confidence when they compete at the 2012 IBSF World Snooker Championship, which gets underway in Sofia, Bulgaria, on Saturday, but expressed caution that a lot will depend on the luck of the draw.

Roe, a former world no 13 who played on the professional circuit, was making a forthright assessment of his players following the completion of an eight-day training stint in Dubai on Tuesday.

“It has been a great training camp for the two players,” said the Englishman, who has previously worked with the national teams in Iran, Qatar and Bahrain.

“Obviously they are both top-class players and are very committed. They have had a good preparation, but the World Championship is a tough event with players from British Isles, China and Thailand all participating,”

“Both Mohammad and Mohammad are naturally good enough to go through the first stage of the tournament but then it becomes a knockout battle and a lot depends on the draw.

“They are focused on delivering in Sofia and will aim to qualify, the rest is up to the draw they get in the second round.”

One hundred players, including stars from neighbouring Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, will be seen in action in the league-cum-knockout event which culminates at the Sofia Hotel on December 2.

The first stage will feature 20 groups of five players each who will compete in a round-robin league. The top three players in each group will advance to the knockout stage. From those 30 players, the top 4 will be seeded to the last 32 stage while the remaining will play the round of 64.

UAEBSA Vice-President Mohammad Tamjid Abdullah and Secretary-General Sultan Al Joker attended a press conference on Tuesday to announce that Al Habtoor Motors will sponsor the UAE snooker aces.

Also present were Medhat Y. Yassa, General Manager Credit for Al Habtoor Motors, and Mersedeh Mahdi, General Manager - Marketing.

Abdullah thanked Al Habtoor for their patronage and said: “We are confident that our boys will put in their best effort at the World Championship and we are grateful to Al Habtoor Motors for providing the needed support.”

Al Joker, the UAEBSA Secretary-General, said: “The event in Sofia will bring together the best players from 46 countries and there will be 100 players in men’s singles tournament vying for the top honours. Our first target will be to go past the round robin opening stage.

“Both the Mohammads are in good form and they will not be lacking in confidence. With a little luck, we hope they can achieve a good result.”

Highlighting Al Habtoor’s maiden venture with regards to snooker, Yassa said that his company was proud to be sponsoring the country’s top two players.

“We are keen followers of sports in the country and when we were approached by UAEBSA to provide financial support for the two players’ participation in the World Championship in Sofia, we readily agreed,” he said.

“Although this is the first time we are sponsoring UAEBSA, we have been aware of the achievements of the national players in top flight snooker events. We have high hopes that both Mohammad and Mohammad will do well at the event in Sofia.

“We also hope that in the future we will get more involved with snooker in the country as Al Habtoor Motors is keen to play a proactive role in the social development of the country and we see sports as an effective tool towards this end.”