KARACHI - National Bank of Pakistan has officially sponsored the second National Ranking Snooker Championship which will break off here at Karachi Club on May 27. In this regard the senior executive Vice President (Administration) Dr. Mirza Abrar Baig presented a cheque of Rs. 0.4 million to the president of PBSA Alamgir Shaikh here on Monday at a luncheon media briefing at Karachi Club which is the home of national snooker. Speaking on the occasion Dr. Baig highlighted the contribution of NBP in promoting sports through sponsorship. He said the president of the NBP Syed Ali Raza, himself an avid follower of sports, had personally taken interest in the promotion of a number of sports at grass root level by providing funds to these sports. The NBP, he said, as its corporate responsibility is providing support not only to sports but other social and literary activities all over the country. He said the NBP would continue its commitment in future also. President of the PBSA Alamgir Shaikh in his speech thanked the NBP for its kind gesture. He said sponsorship is the backbone of all sports and specially snooker which had been receiving a number of sponsors in the past and hoped that sponsors would continue to come forward to the call of the PBSA in future as well. He also thanked Federal Sports Minister Pir Aftab Shah Jilani and the DG PSB Hamza Jilani for their support to the PBSA. Giving technical details of the competition, he said former world champion Muhammad Yousuf and upcoming star Hamza Akbar has been accommodated in the draw of the championship in place of Atif Mughal of Punjab and Abid Hussain of Balochistan who have withdrawn from the competition. He said as many as 32 cueist have been invited according to the latest national ranking list to participate in the championship which carry an accumulative prize money of Rs. 1,15,00/. The winner of the event would be given prize purse of Rs. 40,000 and the runners up will get Rs. 30,000. The losing semi-finalist and the losing quarter finalists will get Rs. 20,000 each. The highest break over 60 will receive Rs. 5000. He disclosed that outstation players would be given increased daily allowance of Rs. 1500, one day before and one day after their appearance in the competition. Participating players have been divided into eight groups of four players each. Top two players from each group will enter the pre quarter final stage. Qualifying round would be best of seven frames and pre quarter final to semi final will be best of nine frames. The final will be an elongated best of fifteen frames. In the question and answer session he said he was disappointed with the performance of two players Asif and Muhammad Sajjad in the Asian snooker held recently in China. Asif did slightly better than Sajjad, he said. He said the NBP ranking event will be followed by third ranking event to be played at Islamabad some time in July and the national circuit will come to an end with the fourth ranking Latif Masters to be played at Karachi some time in September. At the end of the national circuit top two players from the circuit will be picked to represent Pakistan for the world event to be played in Hyderabad (India) coming November. The PBSA in order to give maximum exposure to the players had decided to extend entry to the ranking events from sixteen to thirty two. He hoped that players would utilize the competition to improve their game. Following is group wise list of players. Group A: Muhammad Asif (Punjab), Vishan Gir, Umair Alam (Sindh), Hamza Akber (Punjab). Group B: Muhammad Sajjad, Muhammad Javed (Punjab), Kamran Shah (Balochistan), Muhammad Yousuf (Sindh). Group C: Raees Khan (Punjab), Sohail Shahzad, Saquib Butt (Sindh), Bahadur Baloch (Balochistan). Group D: Sharjeel Mahmood (NWFP), Qasim Kamani, Kamran Razzak (Sindh), Naeem Jaffer (Balochistan). Group E: Inamur Rehman (NWFP), Agha Bilawal (Sindh), Nauman Awan (NWFP), Mustafa Asif Toba (Punjab). Group F: Imran Shahzad, Muhammad Afzal, Qadeer Butt, Muhammad Naeem (Punjab). Group G: Rambail Gul (NWFP), Muhammad Nazeer (Punjab), Jawed Ansari, Shahdab Baig (Sindh). Group H: Sultan Muhammad, Khurram Agha, Naveen Perwani (Sindh), Asjad Iqbal (Punjab).