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Khawaja Iftikhar: Contributions of legend’s family go on

Updated September 14, 2014


— Aisam-ul-Haq (L) Ushna Suhail (R)
— Aisam-ul-Haq (L) Ushna Suhail (R)

The family of Khawaja Iftikhar, a tennis legend of Pakistan, continues its tradition of producing talent as his another grandchild Ushna Suhail will become the first girl to represent the country in the 17th Asian Games, starting in Incheon, South Korea, from Sept 19.

Ushna along with another girl Sara Mansoor is featuring in the continental extravaganza as the Pakistan Tennis Federation has decided for the first time to send female players with men players to represent the country in the Asian Games.

Samir Iftikhar, another grandson of Khawaja Iftikhar, is also representing the country in the Asian Games.

Earlier, renowned tennis star Aisamul Haq has enlightened Pakistan’s name in tennis in the international circuit. Though Aisam is currently playing for Pakistan in Davis Cup in Thailand, he is not available for the Asian Games. In his presence, Pakistan could have a chance to win any medal.Samir’s father Tayyab Iftikhar and Aisam’s mother Nosheen Eithisham had also represented the country in the Davis Cup and Fed Cup, respectively. Ushna was delighted at getting the honour to be part of the Asian Games and vowed to make the occasion memorable by displaying better show in the court.

The men and women teams of Pakistan will depart for South Korea on Thursday.

Though the family of Khawaja Iftikhar has also made Lahore proud, it is also true that only a few people know about their valuable contribution to the promotion of tennis in the country.

The Punjab Sports Board (PSB), which spends millions of rupees on its Youth Festival every year, should at least honour the family by organizing a grand ceremony after the Asian Games.

The PSB should also announce monthly scholarship for both Samir and Ushna. This gesture will inspire other sportsmen who want to make name in tennis. Khawaja Iftikhar was the undefeated national champion from 1947 to 1961. Ushna is daughter of Dr Suhail, who is the son of Khawaja Iftikhar.

The Lahore Lions’ kabaddi team is getting training in Lahore to prepare itself for the fourth round of the World League which will be held in India next week. Head coach Ghulam Abbas Butt said young players like Rehman Ishtiaq, Saifullah, Rana Naeem and Zubair were showing impressive performance in the league as his team had got second position in the newly-introduced event. The Lahore Lions has played five matches, losing only one.

Another Lahore Lions team, in the game of cricket, is in India where it will play the opening match of the T20 Champions League in Raipur, against Mumbai on Saturday. The Lahore Lions team is being led by former Pakistan T20 captain Muhammad Hafeez. The other prominent members of the team are Umar Akmal, Ahmad Shahzad and Wahab Riaz.

To pay tribute to former great Olympians and organizers, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has started a tournament in which different teams with names like Chaudhry Ghulam Rasool, Munir Dar, Brig Atif and Noor Khan are participating at the Johar Stadium here.

The PHF has also organized a separate tournament in the name of Brig Atif, former full-back and a great organizer of the game, who has to his credit major contributions in victories of the Pakistan team in the 60s, 70s and 80s, both as a player and a PHF official.

Though late, the Punjab Olympic Association (PbOA) has instructed all the players of all its affiliated associations to launch relief work for flood victims in their respective cities.

PbOA secretary Khawaja Idris said a sportsman should always take part in such activities and it was the right time for them to prove themselves a useful part of society.

Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2014