ISLAMABAD       -          Two-time IBSF world amateur snooker champion Muhammad Asif has said that he is still running from pillar to post to get the incentives announced by the government including a plot for winning the world snooker titles.

Asif won the first title way back in 2012 after defeating England’s Gary Wilson in the final held in Sofia, Bulgaria and then he won the World Cup in Antaly, Turkey last year after thrashing Philippines Jefrey Roda 8-5 in the final.

In an interview with The Nation, Asif said: “In 2012, the government announced countless awards for me including cash incentives, plots and house but after more than 7 years, I got nothing. I have made countless visits to every place to get my awards, but I am very disappointed and surprised that the government, IPC Ministry and PSB had no answers to my requests rather they are still making lame excuses and not ready to pass on incentives, which I had earned by winning the prestigious title. Now I have won yet another title, but to my utter disappointment, nobody moved to even congratulate me, announcing prizes or incentives is a far cry.”

Asif further said: “I was trying to meet the PSB DG and IPC Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza to present my case, like every other athlete, I was also motivated and was expecting to get my rewards, but to the utter surprise, I couldn’t get my genuine rights. Prime Minister Imran Khan, who himself is a sportsman, has turned completely blind eye on athletes and never say a few words of praise for my achievements.

“Snooker has given Pakistan so many international titles but despite such great results and feats for the country, we are still struggling to get our due rights. We have to spend everything from our own pockets either or the PBSA arranges sponsorship for us, as all are fully aware that our association doesn’t have funds, while the PSB and IPC ministry have not given even annual grants to the federations for last two years. How on earth the PBSA can afford spending so much money on the participation of the players in international mega events.

“I request IPC Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza to take up our case with Prime Minister Imran Khan. We also deserve same respect and treatment, which cricketers always receive, even though, they hardly won any major titles,” he added.

The snooker champ said: “I am grateful to Bahria Town and Malik Riaz Hussain, for fulfilling his promise of giving me a brand new car. If a private person can help the athletes, why the government doesn’t think in the same way. The country is blessed with great snooker talent and if provided with facilities and training, we can produce amateur and professional champions.

“I am ready to start more snooker academies in major cities of the country to help fresh talent nourish and groom them into the world’s best. We have a lot of former greats, who will join my mission of helping snooker flourish, but for this, we need help of the government and IPC Minister. The PSB must help players and association, as they have the best snooker tables and ideal hall while their timely help can produce countless champions. I hope Dr Mirza will help me and other deserving athletes, who, in return, will win glories for the country,” Asif concluded.