Ak Fauzi Pg Salleh
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
MD HAIKAL Qarin Hj Haironi Hamizin claimed the biggest victory of his career after winning the 1st Zain 9-Ball Pool Open Championship yesterday.
Fourteen-year-old Md Haikal Qarin defeated Pg Husairi Pg Hj Metusain 9-2 in the final at the Master Alim Pool Club in Kiulap to receive the championship trophy and cash prize of $1000.
Md Haikal fended off a strong challenge in the semi-final beating Pg Anak Hj Abdul Awadi ZH Pg Anak Hj Latifuddin 8-6 after cruising past Hj Md Alirani Hj Besar 7-5 in the quarter-final 7-5.
But the main highlight of his campaign was when he shocked everyone by beating top seed Ahmad Taufiq Murni 7-4 in the round of 16 on Saturday.
“It was a very good campaign overall for me… I didn’t expect to win but I am very happy that the hard work preparing for this tournament has paid off,” Md Haikal told BruSports after the final match.
“It wasn’t easy… I faced excellent top cueists throughout, especially in the play-off, meeting top players like Taufiq, Hj Md Alirani and Pg Anak Hj Abdul Awadi, all of them are national players and tough opponents… I grow up watching them play and look up to them,” he added.
Pg Husairi booked his passage to the final after beating Mansyor Suwari 8-5 in the last-four match and he defeated Ak Azri Pg Roslee 7-6 in the quarter-final earlier.
“Pg Husairi is an experienced senior player and he gave me a very good fight in the final, but I know that I just need to play my own game to win,” continued Md Haikal who will be a part of the team that will be competing at the Golden Break Pool Challenge in Kuala Lumpur in July.
Pg Md Faiq Hafizuddin Pg Hj Jalaludin, who coached Md Haikal since 2012, believes that the future is bright for the young cueist.
“He (Md Haikal) started when he was about 9 years old, he would come by here at Master Alim to play at least three hours a day,” said Pg Md Faiq Hafizuddin of his nephew.
“He likes to watch and observe Taufiq and all those national cueists playing and he is a very determined young kid.
“He is still very young at 14 years old and he keeps surprising us with his development. I want him to enjoy playing the game at this age and I am very sure he will improve if he keeps playing,” he added.
Second-placed Pg Husairi brought home $500 cash prize, meanwhile Mansyor and Pg Anak Hj Abdul Awadi who shared third-place finish both walked away with $200 each.
Present as the guest of honour to award the prizes to the winners was the advisor of the tournament Muinuddin Hj Md Zain.