Samandri, Pakistan: Born without arms, Muhammad Ikulam steps into a snooker table, increases the size of options, flicks his chin firmly, hits a cue ball and puts red in the corner pocket.
The sport was an unlikely passion for 32-year-old Ikram to pursue, but Pakistani players have spent years honing their skills so that everyone in the local snooker hall can make money. became.
When I recently visited the Snooker Hall in Samundri, a small town in Punjab, eastern Pakistan, Ikram told AFP, “It takes a lot of work. If you have a player like me, you’re ready to face him.” Said. ..
Born in a poor family, he and his eight brothers did not go to school, and he spent much of his childhood in isolation.
As a teenager, he started seeing players at the local snooker hall and was encouraged to start practicing “secretly”.
“At first, I was pushing the ball myself into an empty pool table,” Ikram said.
“I gradually improved the game and started playing with others.”
Ikram is now able to challenge the best players in town.
He showed off various shots, flicking his head firmly and surely to sink the red, then coloring his pockets and applauding from other players.
“Chalk the chin” Equipped by one of them after Ikram finally missed the shot.
Worried that he might get hurt, Ikram’s parents first locked him out of snooker for several years, but last year they allowed him to return to sports.
His skills quickly turned him into something like an internet celebrity among the fraternities who play Pakistani snooker.
“I’ve become famous,” Ikram said, but he confessed that he didn’t know what social media was.
Cricket is Pakistan’s most popular game, but snooker is an important part of Pakistan’s sports scene.
British officers introduced the game during the colonial era of the Indian subcontinent, and Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinna was an avid player.
Pakistan does not have the latest statistics on persons with disabilities, but non-governmental organizations estimate that there are more than 30 million people in about 220 million countries.
The lack of a social safety net means that the majority of people with disabilities are at home.
Muhammad Nadim, who owns Samandri’s snooker hall, described Ikram as a “true sportsman.”
“We don’t charge him for games. Instead, people pay him to play with them,” Nadeem said.
“He has no competition. There are players with disabilities in cricket and soccer, but he is unique when it comes to snooker.”
Introvert. Beer guru. Communicator. Travel fanatic. Web advocate. Certified alcohol geek. Tv buff. Subtly charming internet aficionado.