ISLAMABAD: An error by the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) in processing visas for four Pakistan players, including top-ranked Aqeel Khan, meant there was no representation for the country at the Asian Tennis Championship which was played from Dec 1-8 in Thailand.
“We missed a $120,000 event because the PTF failed to process our visas in time,” Aqeel told Dawn. “Participation in the event could’ve helped us improve our ranking points and it was also a good opportunity for us to test ourselves against top Asian players.”
Aqeel added that he, along with Ahmed Chaudhary, Yasir Khan and Abid Mushtaq had submitted their passports to the federation on Nov 29.
“We failed to obtain visas because of the late submissions of the passport to the embassy by the PTF,” he said. “This is a fault of the PTF as it is their job to manage our logistics.”
Meanwhile, the PTF secretary Mumtaz Yousuf had an entirely different version of the incident. According to him, they had received their passports on Nov 29 and informed the players to report at the Thai embassy on Nov 30.
“The fault lies on part of the players since they failed to turn up at the embassy on Nov 30,” Mumtaz said.
“PTF president Kaleem Imam had approached the Ambassador of Thailand in Pakistan and he had assured us of visas. We asked the players to submit the passport knowing the fact that since it was an individual event, every player had to manage his logistics on his own.
“Why are we being blamed when we managed the whole issue properly?”
The players were finally issued their visas on Dec 3 but by then the event had already started.
“I personally spoke to Asian Tennis Federation’s official but he conveyed that there was no space to accommodate Pakistani players by that time,” Mumtaz said.
“We are also upset at the players missing out on the event as we want our players to flourish at international tournaments.”
Meanwhile, Sub-e-Nau’s chairman Shahida Farooq Satar criticised the federation officials. “It’s slackness on part of the federation that our players failed to feature in international Asian events and such opportunities should not be wasted,” she said.