Home > All cued up: Nothing but snooker for Raheem

All cued up: Nothing but snooker for Raheem

IBSF U18 World Champi­onship bronze-medall­ist gunnin­g for greate­r honour­s

Raheem is one of the two junior players who have been called up for the ongoing Langnese Snooker Ranking Championship in Karachi. PHOTO: MARIAM SHAFQAT/EXPRESS

Raheem is one of the two junior players who have been called up for the ongoing Langnese Snooker Ranking Championship in Karachi. PHOTO: MARIAM SHAFQAT/EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: At 17, IBSF U18 World Snooker Championship bronze-medallist Abdul Raheem says he has no Plan B in case snooker does not work out for him in the longer run.

“There is only Plan A and that’s winning,” Raheem told The Express Tribune, perhaps an indication of his seriousness and dedication towards a game that the teenager is so passionate about.

Raheem’s current routine involves a rigorous full-day practice session beginning from 9am till 10pm except for lunch and prayer breaks.

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Currently ranked number one in the U21 category at the provincial level (Punjab) and number two at the national level, Raheem admits luck does play a major role in the game. “It’s 50% practice and 50% luck,” said the youngster. “Despite putting on a very strong front, one can lose sometimes; while other times, you end up winning even with an average performance.”

Raheem cited losing morale as the reason for not being able to win the world championship semi-final against Hong Kong’s Ming Tung Chang earlier in October in St Petersburg, Russia.  “I won the first frame but lost the next two, which significantly affected my confidence and resulted in my eventual defeat,” he said.

Raheem revealed that his passion for snooker was largely influenced by his close friend Shahram Changezi — a former national champion currently ranked number five in the country.

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However, his parents were initially far from excited about the idea of him playing snooker all the time. “It was only when they saw me performing well and winning prizes internationally that they came around gradually,” said Raheem.

Thanking the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) officials for lending full support to him wherever and whenever he needed to practice, Raheem added that monetary support and keen interest in snooker players’ wellbeing is still lacking on the government’s part.

“The Pakistan Billiards and Snooker Association can support us only to some extent,” he said. “Despite the fact that cueists in Pakistan are consistently exhibiting commendable results internationally, it’s perhaps the only game that remains largely ignored and under-funded.”

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Raheem’s commitment towards snooker cannot be described any better than by PSB snooker marker Raja Ijaz, who has seen the player practice non-stop for the last four months.

“I’ve seen no other player who has the stamina and single-mindedness to undergo such exhaustive practice,” said Ijaz. “There is no doubt Raheem has serious potential, more than any other players around.”

Published in The Express Tribune, October 30th, 2015.

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