Amateur Snooker - 2015 IBSF World Team Championships
6th-15th August 2015 / Movenpick Hotel Karachi, Karachi, Pakistan
IBSF GOLD FOR
MALAYSIA AND AFGHANISTAN
Moh Keen Hoo and Kok Leong Lim have secured Malaysia’s first ever global snooker title in any format after they were the last men standing at the 2015 IBSF World Team Championship in Karachi.
The two man team event was played to a singles and doubles concept, and despite the more familiar powerhouse names of the sport electing not to enter, the competition was still fierce with a number of classy Subcontinent and Asian teams on show.
The Malaysian duo’s campaign started in the round robin, and although opening up with a defeat to Pakistan (1) they regrouped in beating teams from India and Iran to advance through to the last 16 knockouts.
As the 12th seed qualifiers they had to overcome the impressive India (3) in a deciding frame before clean sweeping a strong Iran (1) outfit in the quarter-finals. Hoo and Lim then proceeded to quash hopes of an all host nation final when eliminating Pakistan (2) in the last 4.
The Pakistan (3) set-up of Asjad Iqbal and Shahil Aftab would await in the final. They highlighted their passage to the championship match with a 4-3 win over India’s premier team of Pankaj Advani and Varun Madan in an earlier round. Number 1 teams form their home nation and Hong Kong were also dispatched.
The final would be a four hour epic. There was never more than a frame between the pairings, but it was the Pakistanis who reached the hill first at 4-3.
However Kok responded to the pressure in frame eight by fashioning a fine break of 72 to rightfully take the tie into a deciding rubber.
The last frame was a predictably edgy affair that would go down to the colours.
The locals stood within two pots of the trophy, but a crucial in-off on the brown allowed Malaysia a clearance to the pink which gave them a 53-43 victory.
Malaysia have previously boasted a trio of former winners in the Asian Championship and very recently had double gold medal success in the South East Asian Games, but this is their maiden glory at an international competition.
Afghanistan had Saleh Mohammed and Zamarai Hassas to thank for victory in the Masters division.
They initially qualified second from Group B behind England (1).
The Afghans then enjoyed a nail biting 4-3 win over India in the semi-finals which progressed them to a final clash with Pakistan, whom they beat 5-2 to take the plaudits.
Although the significant absences from both tournaments may lead people to question the validity of these World Titles, it is still a notable achievement for both Malaysia and Afghanistan as emerging snooker nations. Publicity generated back home in their countries is also great moving forward.
The location of this years event with its potential security risks was the obvious reason for a vast number of governing bodies to decline their invites. It does however appear that the logistical and administrative sides of the festival seemed to run smoothly. The added support of Jubilee Insurance as a sponsor also shows that snooker is a well participated competitive sport in Pakistan.
2015 IBSF World Team Championships
Results (from the last 16 onwards)
Pakistan (4) 1-4 Pakistan (2)
Hong Kong (3) 4-1 Bahrain (1)
India (3) 3-4 Malaysia
Bahrain (2) 2-4 Iran (1)
India (1) 4-2 Hong Kong (2)
Pakistan (3) 4-1 Pakistan (1)
Pakistan (5) 1-4 Pakistan (9)
Saudi Arabia (2) 2-4 Hong Kong (1)
Pakistan (2) 4-2 Hong Kong (3)
Malaysia 4-0 Iran (1)
India (1) 3-4 Pakistan (3)
Pakistan (9) 1-4 Hong Kong (1)
Pakistan (2) 1-4 Malaysia
Pakistan (3) 4-0 Hong Kong (1)
Malaysia 5-4 Pakistan (3)
Highest break: Muhammad Sajjad (Pakistan 1) - 139
2015 IBSF World Team Masters Championship
Results (from the Semi-Finals)
India 3-4 Afghanistan
Pakistan (1) 4-3 England (1)
Afghanistan 5-2 Pakistan (1)
Highest Break: Saleh Mohammed (Afghanistan) - 126
For full results and team information please visit the IBSF website here.
Written by Michael Day, published on the 20th August 2015
Malaysia (left) and Afghanistan (right) with their awards. Pictures courtesy of the IBSF