LAHORE - Newly-crowned Asian snooker champion Hamza Akbar has lauded the role of Sports Board Punjab (SBP) in the game’s uplift and vowed to win more laurels for the country.

“After turning professional, I will try my best to win more laurels for my country,” said Hamza while talking to the reporters during his visit to the National Hockey Stadium (NHS) Thursday. SBP Director General Usman Anwar received the national hero while MPA Tahia Noon was also present there.

Faisalabad-born Hamza said that the Punjab government, the SBP and Punjab Youth Festival (PYF) had major role in his success. “SBP DG Usman Anwar included snooker in the list of the PYF events two years ago and now young players of all games particularly snooker are winning titles at international level,” he added.

Hamza was quite impressed with the PYF events. “The SBP, through the PYF, provided the youth of the country best platform to express their talent and the potential youth of the country availed the opportunity fully,” he stated.

Hamza, who became the second Pakistani cueist to win the Asian snooker title, said playing the Professional League in England was his next target. “I have qualified to play the professional league after winning the Asian title. The Professional League will start in July this year. The participation in high-profile league requires a huge amount and I am confident the federal and Punjab government and the snooker federation will help me to achieve this task,” he asserted.

Hamza also thanked media for its full support and handsome coverage during the Asian Snooker Championship held in Malaysia. The SBP DG appreciated the achievement of Hamza saying his title would inspire the young generation of the country. “Hamza deserves full credit and his title victory must be acknowledged at every level. The SBP will hold the Punjab Youth Festival events in future as well and these events will help producing several national heroes like Hamza Akbar.”