KARACHI: Prolific fourth seed Tayyab Aslam breezed past second seed Farhan Zaman 3-1 while top seed Faiza Zafar swept aside sibling Madina Zafar by an identical scoreline in the finals to land the men’s and women’s titles respectively in the US $ 15,000 Jubilee General Insurance Pakistan Squash Circuit III at the PN Roshan Khan-Jahangir Khan Squash Complex on Wednesday.
Aslam, who finished runner-up in Circuit II at Lahore, fought vigorously to stun his opponent 11-8, 10-12, 11-1, 11-8 in a 44-minute to clinch his maiden domestic title of the year and second of the year after winning Malaysian Tour V in March.
“I played as per plans given by my coach Abdul Rasheed and engaged my opponent in long rallies that helped to lay my hands on the title,” a jubilant 22-year-old Aslam from Lahore told Dawn after the final.
Aslam said his best world ranking was 59th and that slipped to 145th due to ankle injury adding that presently he has come among the top 100 (95th).
He has set his sight on the US $ 35,000 Malaysian Open which is slated to take place at Kuala Lumpur from July 19 to 22 and the Jakarta Asian Games next month.
Besides him, Asim Khan, Ammad Farid and Israr Ahmed form Pakistan quartet for Asiad.
Pakistan No. 2 Zaman, who plays for PAF, attributed his loss to lack of training for the last eight months due to his mother’s serious illness.
“My mother is undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer which has badly affected my training,” the 26-year-old player told Dawn.
He was delighted to inform that his Nikah has been solemnized with eminent squash player Sadia Gul recently.
Asked about his next assignment, Zaman said he will make his appearance in the Chief of Air Staff event in Sept.
Meanwhile, Faiza made her mark while getting the better of second seed Madina 11-7, 11-9, 11-13, 16-14 in 32 minutes to win the second title in a series of three circuits.
Earlier, she had won the Circuit I against Madina who avenged her defeat by capturing the second event.
“I was quite upset after losing the preceding final and have worked hard that eventually paid off,” she told Dawn.
“My confidence built up after beating senior player Moqaddas Ashraf in a five-game thriller in the quarter-final,” said Faiza, who attained Pakistan No. 1 ranking earlier this year.
To a question Faiza said she eyes to perform better in the Asian Games. Besides her, the team consists of Madina, Riffat Khan and Amna Fayyaz.
Madina said she had fatigue following a tough semi-final against Riffat the other day. It was my third successive final having won one and lost two, she said.
Tayyab Aslam, meanwhile, received a winning purse of US $ 1805 while Farhan Zaman earned runner-up prize of US $ 1235 from caretaker Sindh Sports Minister Dr. Syed Junaid Ali Shah, who graced the final. Faiza fetched US $ 902.50 while Madina got richer by US $ 617.50.
The minister was flanked by secretary sports Sindh Dr Niaz Ali Abbasi, squash legend Jahangir Khan, CEO Jubilee Insurance Tahir Ahmed, secretary Sindh Squash Association Rashid Ahmed, and SSA official Syed Shahjahan Salahuddin.
Speaking on the occasion, the minister offered to sponsor two squash events, one by the provincial sports department and other on behalf of AO Clinic.
Paying tributes to squash celebrity he said the maestro has provided platform to youth and now it is up to them to learn finer points of the game from him and deliver the goods.
While regretting he said it is unfortunate that in presence of Jahangir, people having vested interest have stood against him by forming parallel body of the game in Sindh.
The caretaker minister said records are made to be broken but at the same time hoped that Jahangir’s record of winning 555 international matches in a row over five-and-a-half years should remain intact.
Final (men’s): Tayyab Aslam (SNGPL) bt Farhan Zaman (PAF) 11-8, 10-12, 11-1, 11-8; Faiza Zafar (SNGPL) bt Madina Zafar (SNGPL) 11-7, 11-9, 11-13, 16-14.
Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2018