Setting the pace at the tournament, which is being sponsored by Club Apparel, was none other than host country's experienced Mohammed Al Joakar, who started his campaign with a resounding 4-0 triumph over Mahmoud Shehab of Yemen in Group D.
The defending champion and top seed Mohammed Shehab had a tough time against his old nemesis Mohsen Bukshaisha of Qatar before salvaging a 4-3 victory in his first Group A encounter.
Mohammed Shehab had merely been a pale shadow of the man who captured the gold medal at the 2007 Macau Asian Indoor Games and bronze medal at the 2009 Kaoshiung World Games in the first two frames, which he conceded to his rival.
He still succeeded in putting his act together and grabbed three frames on the trot to gain a 3-2 advantage. However, at that point, the match had to be halted to make way for the next session’s matches.
In the deciding frame, Mohammed Shehab had to rally from more than 30 points behind and it was a brilliant show under pressure that carried the top-ranked UAE over the line.
UAE's young Khalid Kamali put up a brave fight in his Group C opener with experienced Qatari Ahmed Saif but went down 4-2.
The reigning world amateur snooker champion Hossein Vafaei of Iran also showed class in routing Mohammed Al Shaikh of Bahrain 4-0, while Omar Alkojah of Syria hammered Kamal Al Dubai of Yemen 4-0. Habib Subah of Bahrain was also in great form as he defeated Ahmed Sarhan of Saudi Arabia 4-1 and scored a 132-point break in the process.
The opening round matches in the 9-ball pool competitions also got underway on Saturday. The early round games for both snooker and 9-ball pool singles continue on Sunday with the first session starting at 10 am at the same venue.
Top players from the 13 West Asian nations are competing for gold medals in the snooker singles, snooker team, 8- and 9-ball pool singles events.
The participating countries are Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen and the hosts United Arab Emirates.
Snooker singles, first round
10 am session:
Mohammed Al Joakar (UAE) beat Mahmoud Shehab (Yemen) 4-0
Ehsan Hyderi (Iran) beat Yousaf Al Foori (Oman) 4-0
Mohammed Shehab UAE) beat Mohsen Bukshaisha (Qatar) 4-3
Ahmed Saif (Qatar) beat Khalid Kamali (UAE) 4-2
1 pm session:
Hossein Vafaei (Iran) beat Mohammed Al Shaikh (Bahrain) 4-0
Omar Alkojah (Syria) beat Kamal Al Dubai (Yemen) 4-0
Habib Subah (Baharin) beat Ahmed Sarhan (Saudi Arabia) 4-1
This press release has been written by Hanif Hassan, UAEBSA International.
Schedule and Times for West Asian Billiards and Snooker Champs, Fujairah, FIF, 14 January 2012.
Concorde Fujairah Hotel on Cue for International Billiards & Snooker Champs, FIF, 12 January 2012.
13 Countries to Compete in Billiards and Snooker at Fujairah Concorde Hotel, FIF, 10 January 2012.
More Fujairah news, resources, info and photos is posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.
Images: UAE's Mohamed Al Joakar in action on the opening day of the Second West Asian Championships at the Concorde Fujairah Hotel on Saturday.