Mohammad Ikram was born with no arms, but nothing stopped him from fulfilling his childhood dream of playing the game.
Mohammad Ikram leans over the snooker table, his face almost touching the white ball as he assesses his options, then hits it with his bearded chin and lets it fly.
A moment later a red ball sinks into the corner pocket at the other end of the table.
32 year old Ikram figured out how to make snooker balls without a cue stick.
Ikram, who lives in a rural town in the northeastern Pakistani province of Punjab, was born without weapons. But he didn’t let that stop him from fulfilling his childhood dream of playing snooker.
Mohammad Ikram, who plays snooker with his chin, poses for a photo with his trophies at a local snooker club in Samundri, Pakistan [Anjum Naveed/AP]Ikram remembers seeing other children playing at dusty pool tables in front of his house when he was 10. He wished he could play the game one day but had to figure out how.
“At the time, I wished I had my arms so I could play the game too,” Ikram told The Associated Press.
Eventually he developed his own style and later went to a nearby club to look for a game.
“The people at the club didn’t think I could play with my chin,” he said. “But they gradually began to admire my skills when I started hitting the cue ball with my chin.”
Ikram, right, walks with his mother Rizia Bibi at home in a village near Samundri, Pakistan [Anjum Naveed/AP]Mohammad Nadeem, owner of the Cue Club in Samundri, remembered the time around 10 or 12 years ago when Ikram approached him with a request to play snooker.
“I told him,” No, you can’t, “said Nadeem.
It is good that Ikram refused to answer no to an answer.
“The first time he hit the ball with his chin, I was amazed because it was as good as any other snooker player could have hit it with a cue,” said Nadeem.
Ikram with his family at their home in a village near Samundri, Pakistan [Anjum Naveed/AP]So Ikram began the daily 12 km journey to the club where he played at one of the seven tables.
Ikram has won at least three local tournaments and his popularity is growing rapidly – not just in his hometown but across Pakistan, largely due to media attention.
Ikram, who has two younger brothers and five younger sisters, holds a special place in his mother’s heart.
“I don’t go out and watch him play, but his father saw him play and we are happy for him,” said Ikram’s mother Razia Bibi.
“We always said that if he had got guns he would have been very happy. But now the whole world will be happy when they see him play. “
Ikram said he wanted to demonstrate his snooker skills overseas and hoped for support from the government and Prime Minister Imran Khan, the former cricket star who led the Pakistani team to victory at the 1992 World Cup.
“I wish I could go abroad and play in front of other people and bring Pakistan fame,” said Ikram as he put his right leg on the table, bent his neck, and hit the cue ball again with his chin and potted a red pot ball in the long pocket.
Ikram plays snooker with his chin at a local snooker club in Samundri, Pakistan [Anjum Naveed/AP]