ISLAMABAD: Maintaining their winning momentum, Pakistan’s U-14 team on Friday reached the final of the ITF World Tennis Junior Team event in the Malaysian city of Kuching.
In the semi-final, the Pakistan juniors beat Hong Kong 2-1 and will face Japan in the final on Saturday. Earlier in the quarter-final, Pakistan had defeated a formidable Australian side to qualify for the World Group event.
The country has reached the World Group of the junior team event for the first time in 27 years. The 1996 Pakistan team that travelled to Japan comprised Nomi Qamar, late Ejaz Ahmed, Shahzeb Niazi and captain Rashid Ahmed Malik.
The Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) lauded the performance of the national team comprising Hamza Roman, Abubakar Talha and Amir Mohammad Khan Mazari, who were ably led by Heera Ashiq.
“It is a great achievement of our team,” said a press release issued by the PTF.
National development director Asim Shafik, while speaking to Dawn, said qualifying for the World Group was a significant feat.
“Our players created history by reaching in the semifinal, which guarantees their participation in World Group,” Asim said.
Commenting on the forthcoming decider, Asim said the in-form Pakistan players would give their best.
“Though Japan defeated our team in the group stage in this [Kuching] event, after defeating teams like Australia and Hong Kong their morale is very high and they will do their best in the final,” the official remarked.
Teams from Australia, Japan, South Korea, India, Iran, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Hong Kong, Uzbekistan, Chinese Taipei, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Singapore, Indonesia and Pakistan featured in the Kuching event.
In their group, Pakistan finished second after beating Iran and Indonesia while losing to Japan.
The World Group event, to feature the world’s 16 top U-14 teams from all zones, will be hosted by the Czech Republic in September.
Published in Dawn, April 1st, 2023
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