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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) on Thursday announced men and women squads for the upcoming Asian Games scheduled to be held in Jakarta from Aug 18 to Sept 2.

Farhan Mehboob and Farhan Zaman, the main players bidding to be selected in the men’s squad, could not perform well at the trials and subsequently their names were not considered for final selection.

It is relevant to mention here that on May 7 the PSF had announced the national squad for the Asian Games.

Farhan Mehboob, Farhan Zaman axed

However, later during the Pakistan Squash Circuit-I, Farhan Mehboob showing brilliant performance won the championship defeating several top players on his way to victory. Farhan Mehboob’s outstanding show somehow forced the PSF to again conduct the trials, which were held on June 4.

Interestingly, Farhan Mehboob and Farhan Zaman — who was selected in the squad named earlier — could not impress in the latest trials and therefore were not considered for national duty.

“During the trials, Farhan Mehboob stood fifth, as he faced defeats in most of the matches. And Farhan Zaman after featuring in the trials initially decided to give up due to a hamstring problem,” said PSF secretary Tahir Sultan.

Now, the secretary added, Tayyab Aslam, Amaad Fareed, Mohammad Asim Khan and Israr Ahmed will represent Pakistan in the men’s event of the Asian Games while Madina Zafar, Faiza Zafar, Riffat Khan and Amina Fayaz will participate in the women’s section.

“We have selected a balanced squad for the Asian Games. The federation hopes that the players will produce good results in Indonesia, particularly in the men’s event,” he said.

“A training camp for the Games is already in progress while from June 26, a tournament carrying a cash prize of $10,000 for men and $5,000 for women is slated to be held in Lahore. Another tournament, carrying the same prize money, will be held in Karachi from July 6. These events provide a good opportunity for the [selected] players to get maximum training for the Asian Games,” the PSF secretary said.

On Wednesday, at an iftaar dinner organised here by the PSF for sports reporters, Air Marshal Shahid Akhtar Alvi, who is PSF senior vice-president, said the federation would provide best facilities to the players as they have been winning laurels for the country, adding, “the PSF will do all possible efforts for facilitating players’ employment”.

Underlining that international squash has been revived in Pakistan, Alvi said squash tournaments featuring top players will be staged in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.

“Our junior players have been performing very well at international level and winning medals,” he said and added that the PSF looks for advice on progress of squash in the country from legends like Jahangir Khan, Jansher Khan and Qamar Zaman.

Responding to a query, Alvi said the PSF has been getting a significant number of talented players from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab and adding that squash will be revived soon in Balochistan also.

Alvi further said the PSF is also working to improve women players and after sometime “our female players will [also] be producing better results”.

Published in Dawn, June 8th, 2018