Jansher determined to pull Pakistan squash out of the depths

Published October 1, 2015
Pakistani squash legends Jahangir Khan (right) and Jansher Khan play during a friendly match at the Mushaf Squash Complex in Islamabad, 14 December 2005. — AFP/File
Pakistani squash legends Jahangir Khan (right) and Jansher Khan play during a friendly match at the Mushaf Squash Complex in Islamabad, 14 December 2005. — AFP/File

Former world number one Jansher Khan on Thursday vowed to reverse Pakistan's flagging squash fortunes after he was appointed advisor to the Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) President on Thursday.

“Pakistan has immense talent for squash. Skill-wise our players are unparalleled but their physical fitness levels are yet to touch the international standard,” Jansher, who won the World Open a record eight times and the British Open six times, said.

He said in his meeting with the PSF president, he had discussed a plan to initiate recovery and uplift the standard of squash in the country.

“It involves good organisation and discipline,” he said, adding that much more efforts were needed for resurgence on international level.

Pakistan, once the most successful nation in squash, has produced no British Open winner since 1997.

Pakistani players have also failed to make it to the top 10 of world squash rankings since 1997.

Currently, Pakistan has no player in its ranks who can qualify for the British Open main draw.

According to Jansher, though, Pakistan had all the ingredients to become a formidable nation in squash once again.

“We have great talent but we need to be focused. I'm sure soon we will start making squash champions.”

He said that during the ongoing Chief of Air Staff International Squash Championship being held at the Mushaf Squash Complex in Islamabad, he would be keeping a close eye on the Pakistan players.

“I have decided to stay here to closely watch their game. I will be observing their game throughout the event. This will help me to assess where they really lack. This will help me to plan for their improvement accordingly.”

He said that initially he would be focusing on Farhan Mehboob, Nasir Iqbal, Waqar Mehboob and Amir Atlas as well as some budding players from the country's squash academies.

“We have very good academies in Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar. We can discover future champions from these academies. I will be happy if I assist my country in producing world champions,” said the 46-year-old.

The legendary squash player said that he would be working with two assistant trainers who would provide a regimen to players in his presence.

“I will also be with them and once a week will myself train them.”

“Squash is a game which demands consistent hard work and training. There is no room for complacency in squash. We will have to make our players physically and mentally tough,” he added.

Hailing PSF president's efforts for uplift of the game, he said that he had found him a sincere and committed man and believed that steps taken by him would go a long in improving standard of squash in the country.

During the meeting between Jansher and PSF officials, it was also discussed that the Performance Evaluation Committee (headed by the World Champion Jahangir Khan) would have a meeting before the upcoming Pakistan International Squash Tournament in November, 2015 to review the progress of Pakistan National Squash Academy.

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