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ISLAMABAD: Around two-dozen foreign players will be seen in action here at the Mushaf Squash Complex as Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) is set to host the high-profile Serena Hotels Chief of the Air Staff International for men as well as the Pakistan International Squash tournament for women from Sept 10.

Besides Pakistan, world ranking men and women players from Austria, Egypt, Hong Kong, Iran, Malaysia, Netherland and Thailand will be participating in the two cash-rich events. The men’s championship carries a bumper US$30,000 in prize money while the women’s championship has US$10000 on offer.

Addressing a press conference here on Monday, director academies PSF Aftab Qureshi on Monday said that the federation has been making every effort for elevation of squash in the country. He disclosed that in the ongoing year, PSF had planned as many as 19 international ranking tournaments.

He said that due to lack of financers, DG Rangers Sindh champion could not be held. “However, options are still being explored to get sponsorship to hold the event,” he added.

Director sports Pakistan Air Force Nosher Khan, Flight Lieutenant Aamir Iqbal, Squash legend Qamar Zaman and Serena Hotels Senior Manager marketing, Hussain Odhwani were also attended press conference and trophies unveiling ceremony.

Qureshi said that though Pakistan squash team won a bronze medal in the Asian Games at Jakarta, the federation is not satisfied with this performance as Pakistani people expect much improved results from the players. He said that players have been provided best facilities and it is upto them to produce better results.

Speaking on the occasion, squash legend Qamar Zaman said that fitness level of Pakistani players is sadly not upto the mark. He said that current lot of Pakistani players avoid hard training and without proper exercise and training, players could not excel at international level. “In our time, we used to get training of around six hours daily, but now, the players are not doing hard exercises and training,” he bemoaned but added that at the training academies of PSF, junior players are being trained well and some juniors have good potential.

For CAS International Squash championship, Leo Au from Hong Kong, world number 20, is the top seed followed by Nafizwan Adnan from Malaysia and Egypt’s Karim Al Fathi, Omer Abdel Meguid, Youssef Soliman, Mohamed Reda, Karim EI Hammamy, Mazen Gamal.

Malaysia’s Ivan Yuen is ninth seed and Mostafa Asal from Egypt is the 10th seed. Pakistan’s Asim Khan who is ranked world number 88 and Farhan Mehboob, Tayyab Aslam, Ahsan Ayaz, Farhan Zaman, Shahjahan Khan, Amaad Fareed,, Abbas Zeb and Amir Atlas Khan will represent the hosts.

For women, Rowan Elarb of Egypt, ranked world number 31, is the top seed followed by her compatriot Nada Abbas. Hong Kong’s Tong Tsz-Wing is the third seed followed by Egypt’s Menna Hamed, Tessa ter Sluis from Netherland and Egypt’s Salma Youssef.

Pakistan’s Faiza Zafar, Madina Zafar, Anam Mustafa Aziz, Zahab Kamal Khan, Zoya Khalid, Riffat Khan, Noor-ul-Huda, Amna Fayyaz, Saima Shoukat, Moqaddas Ashraf, Komal Khan, Fehmina Asim and Laiba Ahmad will be representing Pakistan in the tournament.

Published in Dawn, September 4th, 2018