Mohammad Asif – one; media – zero!

Published: December 3, 2012

I couldn’t have been more proud of Mohammad Asif, however, I resent that the media didn't give us the facts as they exist. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

Yesterday, my nation celebrated Mohammad Asif’s win as the new World Snooker Champion. A bit confused, I thought to myself, but hadn’t the Snooker championship already taken place this year? Hadn’t Ronnie O’Sullivan from England won the title in May 2012?

Then again, looking at the buzz of activity surrounding this news on my Twitter feed, Facebook timeline and other social media forums, I could have been wrong. While celebrations continued, I looked onto tweets saying “Pakistan is the new Snooker Champion” and “Pakistan has finally got the title back” and my curiosity drove me to Google.

Upon Googling the words ‘world snooker champion’ the first thing to pop up was “O Sullivan 2012 Final video”. This hardly surprised me. Curious now to know what tournament Mohammad Asif did in fact win, I performed another search and true to my gut feeling, the tournament he won was not the professional World Snooker Championship, as was claimed; it was the IBSF World Snooker Championship.

Similarly, after another quick search I also found out that Mohammad Yousuf had never won the professional World Snooker Championship either. He too, had only won the IBSF, a tournament, much inferior to the professional World Snooker Championship.

What startled me about the way the events surrounding this tournament played out was the fact that before yesterday, not one TV channel ever bothered to broadcast this snooker tournament! In fact, I don’t think I can recall any news anchor even utter the words “amateur Snooker Championship”. However, when time came to broadcast the tournament, because our fellow countryman had won, they made it look like this was the biggest snooker championship of all.

As a patriotic citizen, I too was thrilled at hearing that Pakistan’s name shone bright in the snooker circles as well. I couldn’t have been more proud of Mohammad Asif.

Having said as much, I do not believe that my enthusiasm, excitement and pride would have been any less, or would even suffer a damper, were I given the true facts instead of the exaggerated version broadcasted.

Why did news channels not highlight the fact that this was an amateur tournament?

Why were viewers deceived in to believing that we had won the World Championship?

This is a gross inaccuracy. Last I checked, Under-19 world Cups are highlighted as just that – Under 19 world cups. Our news anchors do not go around saying the Pakistan cricket team has won the World Cup.

Do you see the difference now?

Yes, it is the responsibility of the media to divulge information to the public in a manner that calls out to their nationalistic pride, but doing so without manipulating the facts is also their responsibility. As a nation, now we should look at things more pragmatically and understand the importance of the smaller events, which may finally lead us to the bigger events like the professional World Snooker Championship.

The government needs to take notice of this success, realise that it is an important stepping stone for all Pakistani’s and understand that it is now high time that such sports are given the right kind of attention. They should hone talent, setup workshops and facilitate other individuals interested in taking part in such tournaments. So far, apart from Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Yousuf, there are only two other sportsmen – Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan – to have won individual titles from Pakistan.

Individual sports like Snooker, Badminton, Tennis, Swimming etcetera should be encouraged and the government should provide monthly allowances to those who are really interested so they can concentrate fully on their sport of choice.

If we paint a picture for viewers that shows more than we have achieved, how will we create the drive needed to strive for bigger and better things?

Only a true picture, showing our true potential can raise awareness and help us improve further. Yes, this a matter of national pride, but let’s not sit on it like this was as far as it goes.

The sky is the limit and we have just started out!

Do you think the media calling Mohammad Asif 'World Champion' is misleading?

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Follow Zahir on Twitter @sxahir.

Syed Zahir

Syed Zahir

An Engineer at an oil and gas company. He is also a Business school graduate and tweets @sxahir

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Atif Yousufzai

    Excellent post, apart from discussing non-issues media even not covering the news correctly. He is not world snooker champion and this is a fact.Recommend

  • http://www.pomy.pk Pomy

    Faisalabad, A city of creative legends. <3Recommend

  • Shahid Ashraf

    Though it’s good news for us as Pakistanis, the writer is write to point out that it was misleading. Even I didn’t notice it while reading the news on ET’s front page though it said IBSF World Championship. Taking an assumption that it would be like ICC World Cup! Anyway, an informative and insightful blog. Recommend

  • Nishant

    thats what “intellectual immaturity” that the pak media has been blamed of from time to time Recommend

  • http://www.twitter.com/essel1 Sachal Lakhwani

    Great Article Sir, but you can’t compare the two legends (Jahangir and Jansher) to Mohd Asif. I was tweeting the whole evening of yesterday, posting live scores (from the net) frame by frame and was very proud of Asif for winning the World Amateur Snooker Championship. I would have been proud even if he had lost the final| !! Point is, One Swallow does not make a Summer, and comparing Mohd. Asif to Jahangir the undisputed King of Squash or Jansher (World Champion upteen times) is like comparing a bowler who takes 5 wickets in a WC final to Wasim Akram.
    I wish Mohd Asif all the best moving forward, and hopefully he will bring even more laurels for Pakistan. CheersRecommend

  • Pessimist

    I thought it was M. Asif the cricketer who had won :( Recommend

  • alyan sohail

    Mate i think you have no clue about the amateur & Professional system. And as a result uve mafe a cock up with this blog. Boxing and other sports have amaeur circuits. Remember Amir Khan boxer hecwas a amateur champion.. In the Olympics only amateur are allowed to play. Recommend

  • http://ansariha.blogspot.com/ Hussein Ansari

    Ronnie O’Sullivan is the World Professional Snooker Champion.

    Our Mohammad Asif has just become the World Amateur Snooker Champion.

    Professional Championships are for those who pursue Snooker as a Profession and do nothing else. They play for monetary rewards. Snooker is their career and their life is centred around the sport.

    Amateur Snooker on the other hand is played by all those from around the world who do not pursue Snooker professionally. The fact that Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Yousuf have managed to win World Championships is commendable. They are real heroes who have managed to pursue their dream of playing snooker and excel at it despite financial rewards and proper training which comes with a professional set-up. These are real heroes and their achievements need to be celebrated.

    Professional Snooker and Amateur Snooker are not to be confused. This is the same as Boxing where Amateur Boxing has its own schedule and is contested in the Olympics whereas professional boxing is run differently. This doesn’t in anyway mean that the achievement of an Amateur Olympics Gold Medallist is any less then Professional Boxing’s World Champion.

    Blogs such as these can be seen as de-meaning the achievement of an inspiring young man. His is a story of triumph which we should cherish.

    Well Done Mohammad Asif you certainly made me and my country Pakistan very proud.Recommend

  • Ali Ahsan

    Media always shows us the wrong things. Recommend

  • http://www.twitter.com/faizanlakhani faizan lakhani

    I think we all need to visit the official web page of IBSF the governing body of Snooker http://www.ibsf.info where the tournament is clearly mentioned as “world snooker championship”. You cited example of U19 world cup, that’s the official name “U19 World Cup”. I hope you will be able to understand some basics about official name of the tournament.Recommend

  • Sab33N

    @Nishant:
    Look who is talking ..! Bahahahaha!Recommend

  • Terry

    @Nishant:
    What do think of Indian media all the way from print to electronic media ? I can give you many examples of their immaturity and common sense void they display on occasions.Recommend

  • wrongonepk

    my dear friend most of the people here in pakistan with little bit of sense left knows that it was not a professional championship and pakistan has never won it but STILL it was a world championship and if i m not wrong then let me say that a gold in olympic boxing events worth far more than a title in professional arena because that very person plays for glory rather than for a combo of personal pride and MONEY……. in the END thanks for wasting so much time while criticising the whole dumb nation and forgot that you are the one out of millions.Recommend

  • Gul Baz Khan

    Why?? Who cares… By trying to put down the media you are inadvertantly putting down the achievements of a very hard working guy.. He is a World Champion in IBSF.. Your argument is that WSF is superior to IBSF?? So that means that the Klitschko Brothers are constantly arguing who is the real World CHampion.. They are different associations.. Move on and celebrate.. STOP NITPICKING… There is enough of that going around in all other areas…Recommend

  • Salman Elahi

    The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) and International Billiards and Snooker Federation (IBSF) are two different entities. Much like the boxing the Snooker and Billiards world is split between the money dominated professional circuit governed by the WPBSA ,the organizing body for Snookers tipple crown or grand slams. 1) WPBSA Championship, 2) Masters and the 3) UK Championship and the IBSF which holds the U-21 And Men’s and Women’s Amateur World Snooker Champions and has a larger global participation.
    IBSF also manages its own professional circuit tournament called the World Billiards Championship.
    Turning professional in Snooker is not an easy feat and winning the IBSF Amateur World Championship is one giant leap towards that. Recommend

  • Amjad

    So Asif is an amauter champion and not professional!! I knew something was not right…the best snooker players are all professional, you only turn professional when you are good at the sport! So this really means he is not really a “world champion”. We in pakistan are fed on lies, the media is responsible for these lies..Recommend

  • CB Guy

    there are only 100 professional players allowed at the circuit. So most people aren’t going to get into that anyway. So instead of yapping yourself into record books, find a way to appreciate someone’s good work Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/Pugnate Noman Ansari

    hahahahaha so true. I was thinking of writing a blog on this. Was just telling my siblings. He isn’t the world champ. Our country/media is so messed up. Recommend

  • http://www.twitter.com/sxahir Author

    First of all thank you everyone for reading and posting on this blog. I believe the quality/credibility of the tournament is not determined by the name it carries..We can always form a federation with a similar name and start a tournament with the name “World Champions Snooker” or any other similar name but that would not testify the credibility of the tournament. It is a fact that The IBSF World Snooker Championship is also known as the World Amateur Snooker Championship. A litmus check would be the comparison of prize money of the two which is IBSF Champion [Euro 3,100] and World Snooker Championship [USD 400,000.. aprprox. 100 times more]Recommend

  • Shozab Abid

    Superb article. Way to goRecommend

  • Sameer

    @Gul Baz Khan:
    The Klitschko Brothers are both professional world champions, but with rival organizations. It is extremely rare for an olympic gold medalist to go on and be successful in pro-boxing as well. In snooker the top 100 Ranked Players in the world are not even allowed to take part in IBSF.

    You can continue celebrating your “World Championship” but do keep in mind that this is the same as if your local “muhallah team” wins a locally organized cricket tournament with a 1.5 litre Pepsi as the winning prize and you start celebrating that the team are now National Champions and are better than your city’s Professional County Cricket team.Recommend

  • Sameer

    @faizan lakhani:
    You also need to open the “About ISBF” link right at the top of the IBSF homepage where I hope you can understand some basics about the organization as well.Recommend

  • http://faisalahmadj.wordpress.com Faisal Ahmad Jafri

    great post, truly agreed with you!Recommend

  • Hamood

    As usual, leave it up to ET and its bloggers to ruin a moment of celebration for Pakistan. Clearly the blogger has no idea what he is talking about and his intention seems to be belittling the achievement of Muhammad Asif. Asif clearly beat 102 other participants from all over the world competing for the “IBSF World Snooker Championship”. Yes that is the official title. There is also a professional circuit that has professional players and titles as well. The author is comparing apples and oranges. This is the same thing as saying the amateur boxer is not a World Champion unless he turns professional and fights a multi-million dollar fight or tournament in Las Vegas. As usual, my comment will be censored or not published by ET. So much for their free speech claims.Recommend

  • Syed Faizan Ahmad

    Nice effort Zahir well done for converting your views into writings :)

    It has been our dilemma since the beginning that we celebrate before winning and we hide real facts.. I would like to appreciate Mr.Asif for making us proud on our strengths but in the mean time we need to re-built our foundations to flow with worldRecommend

  • Ammar

    Congratulations to Mohd. Asif on winning something for us. We even lost the HK super 6s this year…this makes for it big time :DRecommend

  • Parvez

    Its good you set the record straight. Well it proves that our media guys are amateurs but then its a tough business and there is always room to improve. Recommend

  • Danyal

    Having lived and worked abroad, I can safely say that we Pakistanis are almost the best in berating our fellow countrymen and their achievements. I would just like to ask all the two-bit clowns, commenting negatively on this lad’s achievement, a simple question- When was the last time you did something that made Pakistan proud? Never? Ah… hardly surprising Recommend

  • http://www.karachi.com Ali

    We Pakistani’s always live in fool paradise.. LoLRecommend

  • Golden horde

    The author is a typical desi wit nothing better to do then pull down the achieve,ents of a fellow pakistani. Let the author try and win something for once in his life before he talks!

    Asif is a world champion. Olympucs are not professional either!Recommend

  • Hardliner

    @ Writer…….. Did u notice u are just as misleading as the media………..???? u have no clue as to what the amateur championship is………. just because it says amateur, it doesn’t mean its inferior to the professional track… but u thought it was, right??? GROSS IGNORANCE….. as goes with nearly all the ET writers, u depend upon ur propaganda techniques to get a fame; a tactic common amongst all media personnel……….. Go get your facts right first and then come to display your writing skills…………….Recommend

  • http://www.twitter.com/sxahir Zahir

    @ Sameer

    Very fair comparison Sameer. The player who makes into the last 64 in Professional Snooker gets more money than the winner of IBSF tournament (less than 4 lac rupees) tells where the tournament stands. The reason why I have written this blog that I was very disappointed with how people react to certain situation. The invention of car which runs on water is still very fresh in my memory.

    Request to all, please be patriotic and not chauvinist .Recommend

  • Parvez

    @Noman Ansari:
    Sorry he IS the world champion in the AMATEURE catagory of the IBSF (International Billiard & Snooker Federations) Championship. Kindly give the man his due.Recommend

  • Usman

    @Golden horde:
    Olympics is a professional sport except for golf and boxing categories in which only non-professionals are allowed to compete.
    Football in the Olympics is almost the same, only under-23s are allowed to compete. You never hear about the Gold medalist in Olympic football being called the “World Champion”.Recommend

  • Hassan Durrani

    Just as Hassan Nissar said ”We Listen Half, Understand Quarter, Think Zero and React DOUBLE!”Recommend

  • mazen

    I agree with the writer that this is the primary responsibility of Pakistani media to divulge things as they are. But I can see something envious in this article. I may be wrong because I’m commenting just reading the article. What are the intentions of this writer? GOD knows better. Anyhow, this article is all about suggesting/ urging the media to disclose things as they are, and window-dressing only malign media’s credibility. This article is taking something away from Asif’s achievement. Asif is a role model for every one of us. His hard-work, dedication and devotion helped him win this not so prestigious, but this is special because not any Pakistani accomplished this feat since 1994, title. This man hails from a poor family. Had he have some kind of financial support, I guarantee you he would have done better at pro level too. At pro level, you need proper guidance and money to excel. Aisam-ul-haq is a lucky man because he was financially sound and achieved something extra ordinary. Well done Asif.Recommend

  • http://www.twitter.com/sxahir Zahir

    I really don’t know how are people relating Olympics with top sporting event in a sport. There is absolutely no comparison between the two and as Usman just highlighted that there are limited sports in Olympics which allow non-professional players and that too due to certain reason.
    Its good to celebrate and encourage the sports and individuals but at the same time, it is important that we don’t metaphor events.As we say, ” Bhai thora thanday dimaagh se socho”. Recommend

  • http://www.twitter.com/sxahir Zahir

    @ Mazen :
    Intentions are pretty clear. I am against metaphoring any type of news. News should be based on facts; true facts. Creating hypes have been the norm of our media and I am against it and it goes both ways i.e media present news in such a way because people buy it. People want excitement with news be it a positive news or a negative one but it is media/press duty to provide the true facts and give a good insight rather intending to give false picture.
    *Ask a layman on the street and 90% people will tell you that Asif has just won the “Biggest Snooker Tournament” recently, just because our media did not tell that there is a much more prestigious snooker tournament that is yet to be won by us. This is quite typical of our media who limits the vision of our nation which is capable of achieving much more! *

    As a Pakistani, it was indeed a great achievement but this was hardly a news in any international newspaper (not that I have came across with). There is still a long way to go for us in this sports.Recommend

  • saud

    Oh so you wanted the media to say that asif had won world amateur championship not the world championship then im sure u would have come up wid an article saying immaturity of media like when will they start appreciating and stop giving us news other then bombs same as when that girl won that Oscar and half of the people were like look at her cloths “Naam ki hi Pakistani hai”i guess its not the media whos immature its we who are immature that we are so naive to discuss matters such as these when we have millions dying from hunger everydayRecommend

  • http://google.com bukhary

    kindly ignore this amateur blog by some amateur blogger in some amateur blogging site…:-)Recommend

  • http://www.dekhojob.com M.Naeem Riaz

    Thanks to Muhammad AsifRecommend

  • Absurdist

    @ bukhary

    Excellent comment and upshot of all debate

    Yes Muhammas Asif is Amateur World Snooker Champion,but that’s no way less an achievement,keeping in view the dearth of our sports achievements(remember olympics).

    @author,

    Why should Asif be compared to Ronnie at all. Simply one is an amateur and other is pro. But at least don’t belittle his achievement to a null. Pakistani media part 100 percent true.
    However international media didn’t give much coverage to an amateur championship means that we should ignore a Pakistani champion who won the amateur title after some 18 years gap for us??? And yes we have no professional snooker for us so does this essentially mean belittling someone’s achievement in an international event with 102 players from all over the globe? Really?Recommend

  • Absurdist

    @ Noman Ansari

    Sir alas we couldn’t benefit from your great ideas on this matter. But it is very disparaging (Asif is NOT World Champion) that you have neautralized all the achievement of a rising sports star(greatest for poor man so far) with a single stroke of pen. I know people like you are ocean of knowledge and infallible who write on this amateur blog and tell their siblings the brass-tacks. However sir for your kind information Asif is Amateur World Snooker Champion (sure not to be compared with Ronnie O’Sullivan the ultimate Champ and professional maestro). So kindly bless your siblings with this corrigendum.Recommend

  • http://www.dekhojob.com Paperpk

    Thanks to Muhammad AsifRecommend

  • Wajahat

    @Blogger…….. I can’t really understand your point of view that you are either negating Asif’s achievement or criticizing Media………..

    First of all Let me explain you that IBSF World Championship is neither a small event nor negligible…….. its even bigger than Asian and other small events…….. every member country is allowed to send two of his best National Players (Not Playing Professional Circuit), so its pretty tough event and no one can humiliate these players…… like you did.

    Now lets understand who can play professional circuit………

    In Past Any Player who have won Amateur World title can Enter by paying GBP. 2,000 – 2,500, but now its changed……..

    Since 2011 any player of any level from anywhere in the world can enter the Q-School by paying GBP. 1,000; where he/she will be playing 3 tournaments during one month within United Kingdom; from every tournament 4 semifinalists will qualified and those 12 players will be awarded 2 years pass for the professional circuit.

    Where every player will be responsible for his accommodation, food, insurance and other expenses during the Q-School and Professional Tour for 2 years.

    Muhammad Asif is no doubt a very talented player, National Champion and consistently playing well since many years, and likewise many other players have great potential; but with deep grief I would like to tell you all that he and many other talented players belongs to poor families and could not afford such huge expenses thus can not enter to beat world famous English Champions

    They even can’t afford reasonable hotels while playing national events in other cities, so they take very low class accommodation and transport during that period, while only winners get the reward…… it shouldn’t be called reward because they get it in installments………..:(

    Every Player who qualifies the National Championship; earlier qualifies at his respective regional / provincial level then top players are entitled to play National Championship at their own cost………… at least they should be given boarding, lodging / TADA for the big event………..

    Now Lets come to the main point that how can these shining stars expect to participate in Q-School GBP. 1,000 and Almost Month stay in UK for Q-School, then 2 years for professional tour……. even if they qualify how can they afford living expenses there.

    Muhammad Asif was given contribution money by their native players and friends to afford IBSF World Championship, Earlier Muhammad Yousuf won numerous titles and gave fame to Pakistan and Pakistani Snooker….. but in return what he got…… he don’t even have his own conveyance, living in rented house….. left his home city…… working in a chain of snooker clubs in Pakistan……. just to support his family……:( …..:(

    where is our media…… what is our government doing……. what is our so called snooker association doing…………

    Muhammad Asif have proved his competency level…… so any Government / Non-Government body can come-up and support him for playing Professional Circuit….. is there anyone who can do something rather than criticizing……..?

    Hope everyone will be able to see the other side of picture now………..

    Regards,

    Wajahat Zafar.Recommend