31 January 2013

Tanzania: Arjun Close in On Snooker Title Retention

YOUNGSTER Arjun Lavingia overcame his opponent Ali Gulamali to go through into the quarter-final of the ongoing Cargostars Dar Open Snooker tournament at the Dar es Salaam Gymkhana Club (DGC) on Tuesday evening.

In the all DGC-tie, Arjun recorded a 2-0 victory in the best of three frames over Gulamali to comfortably sail through into the last eight. The tournament favourite Arjun won the first frame by 79-24 points and it was the same story at the second frame.

Gulamali, showed some resilience to fight back during the game, but Arjun proved to be too strong for him. Arjun will now face his club-mate Suril Shah in today's quarter-final clash. Shah was the first player to book a place to the quarterfinal, after dismissing Nikhil Sangani by straight forward 2-0 victory early this week.

On his way to the victory, the 2009 champion Arjun worked hard but failed to beat the highest break record of 42 that was set by Omar Balsara of DGC on Monday, when he won against Akil Yusufali. Arjun only managed 31 straight points and said: "Yes I was trying to beat Balsara's record, but I couldn't.

I made silly mistakes in between, may be I was a bit relaxed because I knew it was going to be an easy match for me. However, Arjun was happy with his game, which he thinks was an improved performance compare to his second round display. He still holds high hopes of reaching the final.

Gulamali said: "Arjun (Lavingia) is a good player... he deserved to win today (Tuesday)." Arjun said: "Hope to be in the final, that is where I've set my sight, but it is not going to be easy if I play against a player of Balsara quality." The good news to Arjun is that according to the draw, the two players can only meet in the final if both qualify in their quarter and semi-final in their respective encounters.

To be in the final, Arjun has to beat Shah in the quarter- final and also overcome a challenge from either defending champion Raju Kanabar or Munish Khattar, who meet in the another quarter final match today. Khattar booked his place in the quarter-final after he was given a walk-over against Abraham Sykes, who did not show up in their Tuesday's third round match.

According to the competition Secretary, Nikhil Sangani, Sykes could not make it because he travelled outside Dar es Salaam. Defending champion Kanabar went through after beating Murtaza Alibhai by a 2-0 victory on Monday.

It will definitely be a tough task for Khattar, because Kanabar is more experienced and is considered among the tournament's favourites. The tournament sponsored by Cargo Stars Limited will reach its climax on Saturday.

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