UAE to host Arab Snooker Championships

11 countries confirmed for the September 15-22 event

The UAE has taken the initiative to revive the Arab Snooker Championship by hosting it at the Dubai Snooker Club from September 15 to 22.
 
It is being held after a lapse of two years.

A total number of 11 countries including the host nation have been confirmed for the championships with a likelihood of Libya getting visas in time for the event in Dubai.

Sultan Al Joaker, Secretary General of the UAE Billiards & Snooker Association (UAEBSA), speaking at a press conference to announce the event affirmed that the UAE has always been seen as a major contributor to the development of billiard sports in the Arab world.

"There had been no Arab Snooker Championships for the past two years and there were no takers for this year's event as well. We were worried that this would impede the development of snooker players in Arab countries, so we decided to take the responsibility at the last minute," he said.

"I am grateful to Apparel Group, UAE National Olympic Committee and Dubai Sports Council for responding positively to our request for funds," he added.

Amjaad Al Salmi, Public Relation Manager of Apparel Group and Marketing Manager of Tim Hortons, told the press conference: "We are very proud to be sponsoring another major snooker tournament in the UAE under the banner of popular Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop brand.

"Apparel Group's relationship with UAEBSA dates back to many years and we have been actively making our contribution to the development of snooker in the UAE. We have been satisfied with the achievements made by our national players at all levels and we look forward to another very successful snooker event in the UAE."

Al Joaker added that the participation figures in the tournament would have been much higher had it not been for the incomplete visa documents supplied by some of the participating countries.

"Despite the last-minute call, we had a tremendous response from the Arab countries in both Asia and Africa," he said. "This proves how important this event is to the Arab world."

A 10-strong UAE team has been training hard at the Dubai Snooker Club since beginning of this month to prepare for the singles, team and youth under-21 competitions, which will be contested at the event.

Leading the UAE challenge for the titles will be defending champion Mohammed Shehab and 2009 Arab Championship runner-up Mohammed Al Joaker.

The members of the team are: Abdulrahman Saif; Eissa Ali Sayed; Marwan Ibrahim; Ahmed Abdulqader; Saif Al Kitbi and Altaf Noor Rashid.

Talented Khalid Kamali and Bard Obaid will be representing the UAE in the youth singles competition.

Answering a question, Al Joaker said: "UAE has always been one of the perennial powers in snooker in the region and we have the Asian Indoor Games gold medal and a bronze in the world championship to our credit.

"However, competition is getting stronger and other countries in the region have started catching up with us. We are expecting a very tough challenge from Syria and Egypt at this year's tournament but we are ready to defend our title."

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