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Hasnat Akram is the CEO of Knight Shot Group.

PHOTO BY JONATHAN YBERA/EXPAT MEDIA


Big shot of Knight Shot billiards in UAE

Hasnat Akram didn’t need a trick shot to pocket success in the UAE. His name is synonymous with Knight Shot, the biggest supplier of billiard tables and sporting goods and accessories in the UAE and the Middle East.

The CEO of Knight Shot Group has a big clientele that includes A-listers, and he has worked with the biggest names in billiards, including the legendary Efren Bata Reyes, and US Open winner Jayson Shaw. As a businessman, Hasnat has etched a name for himself since he took over Knight Shot more than a decade ago, turning it into the behemoth sporting goods supplier it is today.

A UAE resident in the last 44 years, Hasnat says it was his formative years in the emirates that helped develop his business sense. “From a young age, I was always trying part-time businesses and part-time projects. That turned me into a workaholic,” Hasnat tells Expatmedia.net.

Hasnat was only three years old when he and his parents moved to the UAE. He studied in Dubai and Sharjah, and landed his first job at Sharjah International Airport when he was 19. A year later, he moved to Lufthansa Cargo where he would eventually spend 14 years, rising up the ladder from a clerk to manager.

“I always knew I could do better in life than just getting a monthly salary. Within that 14 years, I tried different businesses on the side: Opening computer shops, traveling to the UK and trading in heavy equipment. Different kinds of projects,” he recalls.

A risk taker, Hasnat says he funded his early business ventures by taking loans. “I spent almost 20 years of my life in debt,” he says. He also worked hard, and clocked in more than 12 hours of work a day.

Hasnat rarely took a long holiday, preferring to take no more than a week. “I just want to get back and work. But that’s what I am. I enjoy my work so much, and it brings me so much pleasure. I don’t think I’ll do anything else,” he shares.

“I always believe that whenever you put in extra passion and dedication into something, it always pays off. I’m 47 now and I don’t work as hard, or don’t need to. But for almost 20 years I put in at least 12 to 15 hours of work,” he says.

“It wasn’t that I was hungry for money. I was more hungry for a passion to achieve something in life. That kept me motivated,” he says.

He still remembers getting his first pay check for Dh1,800, and his first car—a used Honda Accord—that his mother bought with her Dh7,000 savings when he was 23. “Now, I can drive any car I want,” he says.

Hasnat’s Knight Shot Group has showrooms in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, as well as three professional billiard clubs across the country. Expansion plans in Saudi Arabia, Oman, the US and the Philippines are in the pipeline, he reveals.

Hasnat Akram is the CEO of Knight Shot Group.

“Looking back and looking at where I am today, I think it took a lot of hard work and patience, not just by luck or working long hours,” Hasnat says.

Hasnat’s Knight Shot Group has diversified to sports events and bespoke sports room and sports ground design and construction. Its biggest sales still come from selling and supplying the world’s top sporting goods brands, including its own Knight Shot brand of billiard tables and accessories. Knight Shot recently opened the Jayson Shaw Billiards Club by Knight Shot in Al Barsha, which is a joint project with Tornado Café.

What’s next for Hasnat? “I am in talks with Matchroom to bring more events to this region, and also hopefully bring back the Dubai Open in the UAE,” he says.

This story also appears in the Expat Media Special Edition Magazine. To upgrade your home entertainment, go to knightshot.com or visit their main showroom in Oud Metha, Dubai. 


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