Pakistan’s 16-year-old Ahsan Ramzan set a final date with Iran’s Amir Sarkosh in Doha at the IBSF World Championships, after beating compatriot and defending champion Muhammad Asif in the semi-finals.
Amir beat Pakistani Muhammad Sajjad in the semi-final to enter the final against Ahsan.
Earlier, for the very first time Pakistan saw all three of its fielded players enter the semi-finals of the event.
The Pakistani trio had been impressive, but it is Ahsan Ramzan that shined through in the IBSF U-21 World Championships as well. He reached the quarters and even received the cash award of Qatari Riyal 10,000 from the Asian Confederation of Billiard Sports President Asian Snooker body, Mr Mohamed Salem Al-Nuaimi as a way of appreciation for registering a break of 147 in the quarter-final. He unfortunately lost 5-2, but made a mark through his talent.
The break of 147 is rare for a 16-year-old to hit at the world stage and Ahsan became the youngest cueist to do it.
In addition to the appreciation from the President of the Asian body he also bagged US$600 on March 5, vowing to give a better show in the Men’s World Championship.
Ahsan belongs to Lahore and had been playing snooker since 2017 on junior level, when he was not even 10-years-old. He is playing the IBSF World Championship in his international debut.
“After the 147 break, I feel I had gained a lot of confidence,” Ahsan told The Express Tribune.
The prodigy had been troubling national greats like Babar Masih and even Sajjad in the National tournaments, by defeating them.
“I feel grateful for the opportunity. The ASBC President gave me the cash prize from his own pocket because he felt I have the talent that should be appreciated. I’m very grateful for that and then the Pakistan Billiards and Snooker Federation (PBSA) President Jawid Karim also supported me a lot. I just want to do my best with men’s World Championship and the Asian Championship after that.”
Ramzan wants to play snooker like his favorite professional player, United Kingdom’s John Higgins.
According to the team manager Naveed Kapadia Ramzan’s story is that of legends.
“Ahsan had been playing from a very young age, but he has displayed immense talent and determination,” said Kapadia. “Ahsan is a boy who has been very special. The thing is he does not have his parents, his mother passed away when he was very young, and his father when he was playing the National Championship in 2018. But he has been patient and persistent.”
Kapadia said that a huge number of young players picked up snooker after Muhammad Asif’s win in 2012 World Championship, the title he won in Bulgaria. The youngster in the local clubs took inspiration from him and other professional players from the UK. Ahsan was one of the little wonders who was quick to honor his talent.
“When Ahsan came to me, he was little, his height was so small, he was just eight or nine years old, but today you can see his skill and talent,” said Kapadia.
First for Pakistan
“This is the first time for us and it is huge that three out of four players in the World Championship semi-finals are Pakistanis,” said Kapadia.
He explained that Pakistan could field only three players in the event, and all three of them have made the country proud.
On the journey to the remarkable feat, Asif, the two-time world champion topped his group with three wins and 12 frames to his credit without conceding any.
Ramzan was slotted in Group C, where he finished second with two wins, while Sajjad topped his group where he played two matches and won both with eight frames won and two lost.
All three registered wins in thrilling fixtures in the last 32 knockout round to enter in the last 16.
Muhammad Asif defeated India’s Pankaj Advani 4-2 to book his place in the quarterfinal, while Sajjad outplayed Hong Kong’s Cheung Ka Wai 4-3 to progress into the last eight.
“Defeating the three-time IBSF World Championship Advani is a big feat. He is a big name in snooker and India versus Pakistan is always an exciting fixture. I’m hoping that we leave this tournament with title,” said Asif in a video message.
Meanwhile Sajjad made his return his to the international circuit after at least four years and playing at the World Championship after seven year. Sajjad is happy with the win in last 16, especially that he earned despite conceding three frames.
Ramzan defeated US cueist Renat Denkha 4-2 to cruise into the quarter-finals.
In the quarter-finals Sajjad overcame Sri Lanka’s Mohamed Thaha Irshath 5-3, Ramzan eased past Egypt’s Abdelrahman Shahin 5-0 and Asif went ahead with a clinical win against Bahrain’s Habib Sabah 5-1 to make to the historical last-four for Pakistan at the IBSF World Championship.