Mohammed Shehab and Mohammed Al Joakar of UAE Team 'A' crashed out at the semifinal stage of the Second West Asian Championships snooker team event, but Hani Al Howri lifted the pal of gloom with a gold medal-winning performance in the 8-ball pool singles.
Al Howri, who has been at the forefront of the UAE pool for a long time, turned in a superb show to demolish Ahmad Al Jalaad of Jordan 9-4 in the title showdown on the last day of the Championships at the Concorde Fujairah hotel on Saturday.
The prize presentation ceremony was presided over by HH Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi, the Crown Prince of Al Fujairah, who also inaugurated the new official web site of the UAE Billiards & Snooker Association (UAEBSA). The new bilingual UAEBSA web site aims to provide billiard sports fans with timely coverage of the events taking place not only Emirates but also the entire West Asian region.
The Second West Asian Championships featuring more than 60 top players from 13 countries was staged under the auspices of HH Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi, an ardent sports supporter.
Al Howri was beaming with joy and pride after capturing his first major title in the past six years.
He said: "My first match had been against the top Kuwaiti player and beating him 7-2 has been the key to my success in this tournament. It was a big win for me and I felt very confident.
"Later on, there were only tough matches for me but I kept my cool through them and was rewarded with victories. The 7-6 triumph over the Iranian professional Takhti Zarekhani in the quarter-finals came as a further boost.
"Then when I beat Salah Al Rimawi, who is the top-ranked pool player in UAE at the moment, in the semifinal, I knew I was in with a realistic chance of winning the gold medal and I am happy that I did.
"I am grateful to my teammates for being on my side throughout those games in the tournament."
As for the snooker team competition, there was dejection in store for both pre-tournament favourites -- UAE Team 'A' and Iran.
The UAE Team 'A' pair of Shehab and Al Joakar was upstaged 3-2 by Syria and Iran, spearheaded by reigning world amateur champion Hossein Vafaei, came a cropper against the spirited Qatari duo of Ahmed Saif and Moshen Bukshaisha in the semifinals on Saturday afternoon.
The gold medal was eventually won by the Syrian team of Omar Alkojah and Karam Fatima, who vanquished Qatar 3-0 with ease in the final.
The UAE campaign in the Second West Asian Championships ended with a respectable haul of one gold, one silver and one bronze medal.
The third episode of the West Asian Championships will be staged in Lebanon next year.
This press release has been written by Hanif Hassan, UAEBSA International.
Shehab Settles for Silver in West Asian Snooker Champs at Fujairah, FIF,
Star Shehab Goes Down Fighting in Snooker Championship at Fujairah, FIF, 17 January 2012.
UAE Assured of Place in Snooker Finals at Fujairah, FIF, 16 January 2012.
Snooker Progress at Fujairah and the Knockout Stage Draw, FIF, 15 January 2012.
Al Joakar Leads at Second West Asian Snooker Champs at Fujairah Concorde Hotel, FIF, 14 January 2012.
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: Hani Al Howri of the UAE proudly poses with his 8-ball singles trophy on Saturday.