ISLAMABAD, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan's 4th Snooker Cup Ranking Tournament 2012 started on Sunday at the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) Sports Complex in the country's southern port city of Karachi.
The top 24 players of the country are participating in the fourth and final event of the year to show their supremacy and they have been divided equally into four groups where each of them will play five league matches. At the end of the league stage the top two players from each group will qualify for the quarter-final of the tournament.
An official of the Pakistan Billiards & Snooker Association (PBSA) told Xinhua on Sunday that after the ranking event, the top two cueists will be sent to represent the country in the IBSF World Snooker Championship 2012, scheduled to be held from Nov. 24 to Dec. 2 in Sofia, Bulgaria.
The league matches will continue until Wednesday followed by the quarter-finals on Thursday. The semi-finals and the final of the competition will be held on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
The tournament offers total prize money of Rs165, 000 (1,755 U.S. dollars) with the winner to receive 745 U.S. dollars and the runner-up to get 425 U.S. dollars.
The tournament management committee has also allocated some symbolic amount of money for the players who lose semi-finals and quarter-finals.
Sports analysts said that the cueist Asjad Iqbal, if he goes by his current form, would display some good game show and would dominate the event as he had captured back-to-back titles of the domestic circuit of the country.
Iqbal, 20, who has undergone month long coaching course at Bangkok earlier this year, jumped 14 places in his ranking after defeating reigning national champion Mohammad Asif by 7-4 in the final to win the NBP Cup, one of the prestigious events in Pakistan.
Pakistan's two-time national champion and title holder Asif is still at the top slot in the national ranking with 27 points followed by Asjad with 26 points.
Snooker is widely played indoor game in Pakistan but the cooperation from government and private sponsors was always demanded for its promotion to prepare players at international standards.
A Pakistani snooker player Mohammad Yousuf had won the World Championship title in 1994 and Asian Snooker Championship in 1998.