ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) on Tuesday said that the three banned Pakistan players had ‘deliberately’ lost their matches in World Squash Championship in Germany during August this year and the debacle will be thoroughly probed to give a clear picture to the nation very soon.
The PSF recently imposed a two-year ban on the country’s leading player Aamir Atlas Khan besides handing out a one-year ban to Yasir Butt and a six-month ban to Waqar Mahboob over their dismal show in the World Squash event which saw Pakistan finishing at a pathetic No. 22 position.
Aamir Atlas, however, was furious at the punishment and said he will continue to feature in the Professional Squash Association matches on his own, without the support of the local federation.
The federation on Tuesday shared some videos of the event with the media, highlighting Aamir’s peculiar gestures during the two crucial matches in the Germany event which amply indicated his lack of interest in winning the contests.
One of PSF’s senior official said: “It was a pathetic show by our players and you could clearly see the veteran players and some of the officials sitting outside the glass court questioning the behavior of the player [Aamir Atlas].”
The PSF official added that almost all the players present as spectators during the contest were of the opinion that the Pakistani players had deliberately lost their matches without putting up any resistance to their opponents.
The official further said that Kuwait’s coach Nasir Zahan, Rehman Gul of Mexico and Mr Edd from Ireland were shocked after witnessing Pakistan’s below-par show in the tournament.
“The coaches told Pakistan team manager Wing Cdr Irfan Asghar after the event that the quality of the game presented by Aamir and Yasir was not natural at all and both the players never tried to win matches,” said the PSF official.
Meanwhile, the World Squash Federation in its recent updates of the event, said: “Outsiders Denmark pulled off the biggest upset in the WSF Men’s World Team Squash Championship by beating Pakistan in Germany - a result which pushes one of the world’s most successful squash nations out of the world’s top 16 for the first time in their history.”
Egypt won the championship.
The videos shown to the executive committee of the PSF — comprising senior players like Qamar Zaman and Jansher Khan as well as officials from all the four provinces — brought to light some amazing facts about the matches which to a large extent confirm the shady conduct of the Pakistan players in the high-profile event.
For instance, the manner in which Aamir Atlas surrendered the all important match when Pakistan needed just one last win to break the 2-2 tie against Denmark is appalling. Danish player Krisitian Frost Olsen who is ranked world No.65, crushed Aamir (ranked world No.28) with consummate ease to clinch the match while Aamir was seen hitting the tin again and again to give away few points without making any efforts to challenge his opponent. At the end of the match, Aamir Atlas was seen winking to a fellow player, as if the result was pre-planned.
In another video Waqar Mehboob succumbed easily to a non-seeded player. The 20-year-old Waqar did not make any moves to counter Morten Sorensen, 32, who is ranked world No.313 and was playing after a gap of 12 years.
“Sorenson was on holiday in the south of France 12 days ago when he received the surprise call from the Danish selectors to feature in the championship,” said the World Squash Federation website.
Another video has footage of poor display put up by Yasir Butt, ranked world No.105, in his team event match that he lost 3-0 to Derek Ryan, a player who retired from international squash some seven years back. Yasir, 23, put a shameful show against Derek, 41, losing the match in just 24 minutes.
The PSF official said that the federation was probing the reasons behind the deliberate poor show by the players in a premier world squash event.
“We are probing this debacle and will share the information with the nation so they know the ban on the three players were very much needed,” said the official.
The official said that a communication in this regard has already been conveyed to the PSA and WSF officials.
All the evidences — reports and videos — were shared by the manager of the team Wing Cdr Irfan Asghar, with the executive committee of the federation.