Hamza Khan brings U-15 British Junior Open title back to Pakistan

Published January 7, 2020
BIRMINGHAM: Pakistan’s Hamza Khan celebrates after beating Yusuf Sheikh of England to lift the U-15 British Open Junior Championship title on Monday.
BIRMINGHAM: Pakistan’s Hamza Khan celebrates after beating Yusuf Sheikh of England to lift the U-15 British Open Junior Championship title on Monday.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s promising youngster Mohammad Hamza Khan on Monday outclassed Yusuf Sheikh of England to win the U-15 title at the British Junior Open Squash Championship.

Looking in extremely good form, the 14-year-old Hamza tamed Yusuf in just 16 minutes, registering a 11-4, 11-3, 11-7 victory in the final at Birmingham.

Overall Pakistani juniors exhibited brilliant performance at the British Open Junior championship. Apart from Hamza’s superb show, compatriots Mohammad Ammad and Noor Zaman also reached the U-15 and U-17 semi-finals, respectively.

The achievement of Hamza gave a new life to Pakistan squash as the country regained the title after eight long years. Israr Ahmed last won the championship for Pakistan in 2012.

“I am very happy, I defeated all the big players. Next time I would visit here to win U-17 [title],” a jubilant Hamza said in his video message, which was shared with Pakistani media, after winning the decider.

Meanwhile, speaking to Dawn from Birmingham, Pakistan team manager Hussain Odhwani said, “It’s an honour as well as a moment of pride to see our youth bringing back the glory that Pakistan once held in the world of squash. It’s also encouraging to see that the support we’re extending to sports as sponsor and manager is paying off in the form of titles such as British Junior Open and Asian Junior Championship.”

Pakistan Squash Federation secretary Tahir Sultan said winning the U-15 title at the British Junior Open is a big achievement of Hamza.

“Overall performance of our players remained very good, it’s a good sign for the PSF and Pakistan’s squash,” Tahir said.

“Egypt participated in the championship with more than 100 players. [Whereas] only nine players represented Pakistan in this event and out of them three played semi-finals and one — Hamza — won the championship,” he underlined.

Published in Dawn, January 7th, 2020

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