RAWALPINDI, Aug 19 (APP): Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman on Friday received Pakistan’s World Team Junior Squash Championship winning outfit here at PAF Nur Khan Air Base.
The four-member team accompanied by their manager Qamar Zaman and coach Amjad Khan was warmly felicitated by the Air Chief, who is also President of Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF). The Vice President of PSF Syed Razi-ul-Hassan Nawab, Secretary PSF Group Captain Aamir Nawaz and Director PSF Air Commodore (r) Aftab Qureshi were also present on the occasion.
Pakistan juniors had stunned favourites Egypt 2-1 in the final in Poland on Wednesday to win their sixth title and the first after 2008.
Talking to media, the Air Chief said it was heartening that Pakistan juniors got a great achievement after a gap of several years. “This is not a little success. Our junior players have made the entire nation proud and they deserve appreciation and encouragement,” he said.
He said that the federation had set a target to regain lost glory in the squash and expressed the optimism that Pakistan would manage to produce world champions in the next three years. “I’m hopeful we’ll get world champion from these boys,” he said.
He lauded the services of former squash greats Jahangir Khan, Jan Sher Khan and Qamar Zaman stating that their guidance and support had helped the youngsters to excel at the international level.
He said that the academies set up by the federation in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi had started to yield results. He said junior players had undergone an extensive training at the squash academies and that helped them emerge victorious against event’s favourites.
Sohail Aman said that the members of winning team would be given incentives and rewards. “They have made the nation proud and we all should encourage them,” he said.
He said the security situation in the country had improved a lot and Pakistan was safe to hold international events.
“There will be a lot of squash activities in Pakistan in the near future,” he said.
He said that the federation would hold three international events in next three months. “These events will provide further exposure to our players,” he added.
Vice President PSF Syed Razi Nawab said that the win against Egyptians would bode well for the future of squash in Pakistan. “Prior to this, our players faced Egyptians thrice in the final of the event, but suffered defeats. But this time they won in style and broke the psychological barrier.
This win has raised their confidence level and they will grab morevictories in future now,” he said.
He said that the establishment of squash academies had changed the game’s environment and that is evident from junior team’s performance. “Now we are expecting similar results from our senior players too,” he said.
Team’s manager, former squash great Qamar Zaman seconded Razi Nawab and said that academies were helping a lot in squash uplift. “Now we can judge in a better way what are the weaknesses and strengths of our players and plan accordingly”, he remarked.
Coach Amjad Khan said he was happy that Pakistan juniors won the title under his guidance.
“I knew our boys are highly talented and they can beat top seed Egyptians. I’m happy we’ve achieved our target,” he said.
Sharing their sentiments, players Israr Ahmed and Abbas Shoukat said that they had entered in the final with the thought that they would have to win the championship by all means. “I had promised with myself that I would utilize all my energies to win the contest and thank God I emerged victorious,” Israr, who came out on top against Saadeldin Abouaish in the first match of the final said.
“We’ll bring back the glorious period of Jahangir Khan and Jan Sher Khan,” said Abbas, who beat Marwan Tarek 3-1 in the decider to help Pakistan reclaim the crown.