ISLAMABAD - USA top squash player Todd Harrity termed his decision to participate in the $25,000 Serena Hotels President Gold Cup International Squash Championship 2015, as logical rather than emotional one.

In an interview with The Nation on Tuesday at Mushaf Mir Squash Complex, where he was training prior to start of the main round, Todd said: “I decided to start playing squash when I was 4 or 5, as both my parents played squash, so it was quite natural that I started taking keen interest in the game. Although I loved all the racket games, yet when I started winning junior events back in USA, I made up my mind to completely focus on squash.”

Todd said he had started playing professional squash only two years back and he was quite blessed as US Squash Federation (USSF) lends a helping hand and they have also bore my traveling expenditures for this particular event. “Squash is gaining popularity in USA and a number of PSA events have been conducted round the year. I had played a lot of events there, so I have decided to move away from my preferred den and participate in other PSA events as well outside the US.

“When I submit my entry for this event, I had a lot of things in my mind, as I had heard a lot about Pakistan and always dreamt about playing in this part of the world, where the great Jahanghir Khan and Jansher Khan had born and won so many titles for Pakistan,” he added.

Todd said he also wanted to make himself tougher and grew stronger which he could achieve all by featuring in other parts of the world. “I had graduated from Philadelphia and played majority of my squash at my home town under various coaches but my main coach is Scot Devoy, who always talked about greats Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan and he had shown me a lot of videos of squash. When I talked with different players about Pakistan, they told me that now situation is completely change in Pakistan, as they conducted few high-profile events very successfully.

“Frankly, all of them were full of praise and urged me to participate in the event. I made up my mind not to miss this golden opportunity of meeting with living legends Jahanghir and Jansher. I reached Pakistan last night, and Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) had informed me they would pick me from Islamabad Airport. I was a bit nervous as the person, who was suppose to pick me was not present at the site, but a Pakistani couple watching my squash bag hanging on my shoulders came across and wanted to know am I a squash player. I told them yes, they were so helpful. All of a sudden I got relaxed, as they called federation and the guy was standing outside lobby to pick me. First impression after landing in Pakistan was quite friendly and now, I am very happy I had made the right choice and landed in Pakistan,” he added.

To a query regarding fear of security situation in Pakistan, he said: “No, once I talked with different players and learnt about actual facts, I made up my mind of going through with my plans. I had trained with Pakistan's one of the top players Farhan Zaman in Philadelphia, while during my young days, I had a chance of playing in world juniors against Aamir Atlas Khan. Let me share, he was a class act, he completely outclassed me. I had always thought one day Aamir and Farhan Meheboob would become world's top players. I am very happy to arrive in Pakistan.”

When asked about his chances in the event, Todd said: “I am 25 and fourth seed in the event, so I hope making it to the semifinals will be quite fair result, but I never think beyond match of the day and always focus on the match.”

To a query regarding his future plans, Todd said: “I have not think about that yet but one thing is quite sure, I am going to play squash for a very long time. When I finally hang up, then I would decide future course of action. The USA Squash Federation helps players a great deal and bears expenses of the players, which is a great help. I am looking forward to make new friends in Pakistan and enjoy my stay here.”