ISLAMABAD - After the approval of Professional Squash Association (PSA), Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) is all set to host Pakistan Squash Circuit-1 for men and women from May 8 to 13 here at Mushaf Squash Complex simultaneously

Talking to The Nation on Thursday, PSF honorary secretary Group Captain Tahir Sultan confirmed that the event carries prize money of $ 10,000 for men and $5,000 for women, in which all the top male and females will be seen inaction. “It is the first of the three tournaments granted by the PSA. We highly appreciate the gesture of the PSA towards Pakistan squash, as we desperately need tournaments to help our players. Without PSA support, we won’t be able to conduct international events, which not only effect international rankings of Pakistani players, but also deprived them of much-needed international exposure.

“After this, same men and women events will be held in Lahore in June and then the same prize-money event will be conducted in Karachi in July. The Pakistan Squash Federation is sponsoring the Islamabad event, while FMC and SNGPL are the title sponsors of Lahore and Sindh Squash Association (SSA) is sponsoring the Karachi tournaments,” he added.

Tahir said that after these tournaments, international players will be seen in action in next mega tournaments to be hosted in Pakistan, which are in pipeline. “We will update about them very soon. Due to some reasons, we don’t want to disclose actual dates for the time being. We always strongly acknowledge the massive support rendered media towards promoting squash and carrying forward the national cause and we expect the same from the entire print and electronic media. I hope that all the sports journalists will join hands with the federation to work for betterment of squash in general and players in particular as it is the national and moral duty of all.”

The PSF secretary said that ever since the new body has taken over the helm of PSF affairs, they have never compromised on principle stance and tried their best to provide everything the players demanded. “Trust me, we are so much involved and really want to provide our female players maximum opportunities that’s why we are conducting mega tournaments for the ladies as well, just like we did last year, when Chief of Air Staff $25,000 tournament along with $50,000 Pakistan Open for men was conducted. Despite the fact that we are fully aware we don’t have many female players available, even then we are taking every possible step to bring ladies into the mainstream.

“These three back-to-back tournaments for men and ladies will definitely not only boost their international rankings, but also provide them much-needed exposure. We have a number of squash players, who don’t get chances to play in the PSA events in Pakistan due to their lower rankings, but now these tournaments will help them get chance to not only play the PSA events at home but also improve their international rankings. They will get golden chance to earn a place to play against the best national and international players,” he added.

He said: “We have given wildcard to Abbas Zeb, keeping in mind the suggestions given by senior sports journalists, as juniors are our main future hope, we want to give them chance to showcase their skills and pose real challenge to the seniors. All the courts will be utilized for the mega PSA events, as matches will be held as per PSA rules form 12pm to 4pm. The main round will start from May 10 and continue till May 13.

“As many as 25 male players will be in action in the qualifying round while top 4 will join the 12 in the main round. Due to shortage of female players, 16 ladies will play directly in the main round while the semifinals and finals will be played on May 12 and 13,” Tahir concluded.