ISLAMABAD

 

Pakistan's top star Aamir Atlas Khan started his FMC 17th Asian Senior Individual Squash Championship 2013 campaign on a winning note as he brushed aside Husham A S Al-Saby ofIraqin straight games here at Mushaf Ali Mir Squash Complex Court No 7 on Wednesday.

Sixth seed Aamir was in no mood to allow his opponent any chance of settling down in the match and won the game 11-6. In the second game, Aamir took a commanding lead before the 19-year-old youngster showed some glimpses of his game, but Aamir remained focused and took the game 11-8. The third game started in a whirlwind fashion as Aamir took a 5-0 lead, but to the great credit of Husham, he never lost heart and first leveled the game 5-5 and then surprisingly took 7-5 lead before Aamir finally seal the initiative and took the game 11-9, thus winning the opening round match in 40 minutes to set up the second round match against Ahmd Alsaraj of Jordan, who won his encounter against Shen Jaqi of China.

In another match played at court No 4, Nasir Iqbal, despite injury, still was good enough to beat the Chinese opponent Wang Junjie in straight games. Nasir won the first game 11-8, second game with more ease 11-1 and the third one 11-6 to win the match and set up second round clash with Kuwaiti Al Bader Al-Ramezi, who won his opening round match against Ravindu Laksin of Sri Lanka.

In the third and last encounter for the home player, Farhan Zaman defeated Navid Malek Sabet, who was the only player fromIranas other players and officials didn't turn up. Farhan won the first game 11-9 and was quite comfortable in the second before he had to face off a great resistance from the youngster. Navid was leading 10-8 at one stage, but Farhan used his experience of playing in US and held on to take the second game 12-10. Farhan played superbly in the third game and won it 11-1 to cap a memorable day for the host nation as the local boys won all the three matches on the inaugural day. Other lads Farhan Mahboob, Danish Atlas Khan and Syed Ali Bukhari got byes in the first round.

Farhan will take on No 1 seed Ong Beng Hee of Malaysia in the second round match today (Thursday) while Danish will vie against Abdullah Al-Mezayen and Ali Bukhari will face M Asyraf Azan.

The local girls showed mixed results on the opening day asPakistan's future hope Sammar Anjum lost her first round match against Sri Lankan opponent Mihiliya Methsarani. It was the second consecutive defeat to Sammar at the hands of same opponent as she was also beaten by her in the Asian Junior Team Championship inKorea.

Sammer was hot favorite to win this tie and was ready to take revenge of her previous loss, but Mihiliya had other ideas as she never allowed Sammar any chance of showing her game. Mihiliya won the first game 11-9, she was at her peak in the second game winning 11-4, but Sammar was not ready to go down without a fight as she won the third game 11-8. The Fourth game was a treat to watch for the spectators who turned up in quite a few numbers to witness the championship. Both Sammar and Mihiliya exhibited their prowess and were not ready to hand over the initiative to other making it a see saw battle. Mihiliya finally managed to prevail as she took the game 13-11 to won the the best encounter of the day. Mihiliya will now face top seed Low Wee Wern of Malaysia in the second round.

Home crowd was provided something to cheer about by Riffat Khan who one of the finest talents from Punjab. Riffat beat Dulaksh Elikewela of Sri Lanka in straight games 11-9, 11-5 and 11-8. Riffat will now face No 2 seed Annie Au of Hong Kong in the second round match today (Thursday) while the other four host nation players including No 1 player Maria Toor, Saima Shoukat, Zoya Khalid and Rushna Mehboob got first round byes. Maria will face Gu Jinyue in the second round, Zoya Khalid will take on Liu Tsz Ling and Saima Shoukat will play against Joey Chan in the second round matches today (Thursday).

Earlier, grand opening ceremony was held with Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) SVP Air Vice Marshal Syed Razi Nawab, FMC MD Farooq Shahid, former world squash champion Jansher Khan, Qamar Zaman, Mohib Ullah Khan and other dignitaries were also present on the occasion. The teams were introduced to the chief guests and a march past was all done by all the participating nations. It was almost pack to capacity crowd at the venue who were cheering not only for the local lads but also gave all-out support to foreign players especially the lone player from Iran got a standing ovation from the crowd.

Very tight security was witnessed in and around the complex with PAF security personals were guarding the entire area, but overall it was a very cordial atmosphere as general public was allowed to witness their favorite players in action and the arrangements were quite satisfactory.