Muhammad Ikram weighs in his options, he steps up to the snooker table, takes a firm look before he flicks his chin, as he was born with no arms, on the cue ball which sends a red into a corner pocket.
The sport was perhaps an unlikely passion for Ikram, 32, to pursue, but the Pakistani player has spent years honing his skills and can now give anyone at his local snooker hall a run for their money.
“It is a tough job that requires hard work. If there is a player like me, I am ready to face him”, Ikram told AFP during a recent visit to the snooker hall in the small town of Samundri.
Born into a poor home, he and his eight siblings did not go to school and he spent much of his childhood feeling isolated.
As a teenager, he started to watch players in the local snooker hall and was inspired to start practising “in secret”.
“In the beginning, I used to push the balls by myself on an empty pool table,” Ikram said. “Gradually, I improved my game and started playing with others.”
Ikram can now challenge the best players in town. He demonstrated a range of shots, giving a solid and assured flick of his head to sink reds and then colours into pockets, drawing applause from other players.
“Chalk your chin,” one of them quipped after Ikram eventually missed a shot. Worried he might injure himself, Ikram’s parents initially barred him from snooker for several years, but last year they allowed him to return to the sport.
His skills quickly turned him into something of an internet celebrity among Pakistan’s snooker-playing fraternity.
“I became famous,” Ikram said, though he confessed to having no idea what social media is.—AFP