KARACHI - Poor state of arena cost favourites Islamabad bowlers dearly, as only Zafar Iqbal managed to break into top five on the first day of the professional category of the Second PTBF National Ranking Bowling Championship 2013 at Arena Bowling Centre on Saturday.
Huge controversy erupted when the professional event started. The organisers, just to give extra edge to the local players and against the international rules of oiling the playing area, didn't bother to properly oil the surface. Despite strong protests lodged by the players, nobody was ready to listen to the genuine complaints of the top ranked players. The players also showed the organisers the agreed formula, in which it was clearly mentioned and decided that the area would be oiled at 42 feet, instead it is more than 48, which is causing huge disturbance to them and they were unable to play their natural bowl rolling game.
Despite giving assurances of addressing the issue, the organisers used delaying tactics and forced players to continue playing. But the promise was never materialised and the players had left with no other option but to complete the first round of five games on the pathetic surface.
The local players took full advantage of the situation and grabbed four out of five top positions after the completion of first round of games. Robert Sangar finished the day on top with total of 946 pins. Former national champion Zafar Iqbal showed his class and prevailed despite all the odds to finish second with 942 pins. Naseem Ahmed remained third with 931 pins, M Fazil was fourth with 930 pins, while defending champion Shabbir Lashkarwala was at number five with 929 pins.
Top seed Ijazur Rehman stole the limelight by playing the best game of the event as he scored 234 pins in the third game which was the highest score by any player from the inauguration of the event. Senator M Idrees Khan Saifi was the chief guest on the occasion while Wajid Akbar, staff officer to vice President Mobilink was the guest of honor.
The next round of five games will start today (Sunday), with eight players will qualify for the final round. The winner of the event will net a cash prize of Rs 100,000 along with a beautiful trophy while runners-up will take away Rs 75,000 and trophy and third position holder will pocket Rs 50,000 and trophy.
Finals of all the categories will be played tomorrow (Monday), with grand closing ceremony will be held on the same day. Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Minister Syed Riaz Hussain Pirzada is likely to be the chief guest at the closing ceremony.