M.J.M. Lafir : The Sri Lankan Billiard Champion | Sunday Observer

M.J.M. Lafir : The Sri Lankan Billiard Champion

The first Sri Lankan All Island Billiard Championship title holder, M.J.M. Lafir who brought fame to the country, was born on May 27 1929.

He first learned to play Billiard at the age of 16 from his father Mohamed Junaid, who was an expert in the game.

From a humble beginning, Lafir proved his attainment of the game, and astonished many a good player. In 1948, when the first Sri Lankan All Island Billiards Championship was held, it was evident that Lafir was a talented player and the same year saw him win the inaugural snooker title.

Lafir in his maiden attempt abroad, at the All India Snooker National, won his first international title, and up to the year 1977, he won the title on 8 occasions and claimed to be Asia’s Greatest Snooker Player, which to date is a record.

In 1973, at the World Amateur Billiard Championship, in Bombay, Lafir paved his way into the annals of Sri Lanka’s history when he won the finals against Satish Mohan of India, to crown himself as the Champion of the World in Amateur Billiards and brought honour to Sri Lanka as the one and only sportsman to date of our country to reach the highest pedestal in a sporting event. In addition, he made a World Record of 859 Points on one outing in his match against Eric Simons of New Zealand.

In honour of his great achievement the Colombo Municipal Council re named Messenger Street in Colombo 12, where Lafir lived as M.J.M. Lafir Mawatha.

M.J.M. Lafir’s untimely death at the age of 51 while he served as an executive at the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) is a loss to everyone known to him at his place of work, his many friends, relatives and the sportsmen who encouraged him to rise to become a champion.

“May Allah grant His choicest blessings” and the highest abode in “Jennathul Frdhouse” Ameen.

A.Y.L.U. Marikkar, J.P. (All Island) 

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