Pakistan's top squash player Maria Toor is now training in Canada after face numerous obstacles and little official support in Pakistan. -File photo

ISLAMABAD: Having ruled the men’s circuit for more than a decade, the Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) is now shifting its focus to the women’s game and is going across the country to build up its ranks.

Pakistani legend Azam Khan’s grand-daughter Carla Khan and Maria Toor are the two prominent names that have made the headlines for Pakistan but by and large the pool of female players is very low. Khan retired in 2008-2009 and Toor has had to battle as much off the court as on it.

That all could change according to PSF secretary Irfan Asghar’s latest claims.

“The PSF is going to organize an inter-district squash league next month in which the women will be given complete opportunity to prove and improve themselves in the game,” Asghar told APP in an interview.

“We also set up a camp in Peshawar recently for the women players,” he said while adding, “definitely we lag far behind in the other countries when it comes to women’s squash.”

“The point is that women these days are taking very much interest in sports but the societal pressure often act as barriers to success for these girls.”

A camp in Peshawar will go along way in getting the players on the right track and according to Asghar, perhaps also create an environment of acceptance.

The current female prospects have reason to believe since the top player Maria Toor found it extremely difficult to train in her native Waziristan and even Peshawar.

They can also take inspiration from the fact the Toor is now in Canada, after the country’s squash legend Jonathon Power learnt of her struggle and talent and agreed to coach her until “she becomes world champion.”

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Comments (2)

October 3, 2011 5:17 pm
What an inspirational article - I salute Maria and her parents for their courage in the face of overwhelming odds that undermine sports amongst females, especially in the tribal areas of Pakistan. And such a noble gesture on the part of Jonathan Power to train Maria until she reaches her full potential. This story reinforces the belief that good in humans will ultimately triumph.
javed qamer
October 3, 2011 8:31 pm
I am glad Maria Toor got a sponsor in canada. Thank you Mr. Powers. It makes me think about our legends. What are they doing to promote Squash. Instead of lamenting about Pakistan squash federations laziness. They should jump into the ring to promote squash. They were nothing and they got fame and fortune from squash it is time to give back. Please you legends you got a lot from Squash please give something back. Sponsor players, set up camps, give seminars and bring back the glory of old days. Stop bad mouthing Squash federation. They did not do anything before and they will not do anything now. It is upto you Javed Qamer Virginia
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