Islamabad - Former world squash champion Jansher Khan believes that only hard training and perfect fitness can help players excel at international level.

Talking to The Nation, Jansher said: “It is quite disappointing to see the poor condition of squash in Pakistan, a country which ruled the world of squash for 40 years. The players need to train and work hard and improve their physical fitness, which will help them achieve great feats.”

The former squash legend feels that there is a dire need to give importance to female tournaments and more and more chances must be created for females, as the country is blessed with immense amount of talent, and if provided with best facilities and international exposure, they can win laurels for the country at international level.

He said that the PSF should hold junior international tournaments along with senior events. “There is a need to pay more heed towards conducting juniors’ events as it will help attract the current players and also help youth divert their attentions towards playing squash. We need to work on long-term goals, as short-term solutions won’t work. If more attention is paid on grassroots level, it will flourish squash in the country.”

Jansher said also greeted newly-elected PSF president Mujahid Anwar. “I hope under the dynamic leadership of the new PSF president, Pakistan squash will flourish and also regain its lost glory.”

He urged the PSF chief to pay heed towards improving the performance of Pakistan National Squash Academy (PNSA), which has failed to produce even ordinary results despite investment of millions of rupees. Instead of focusing on already accomplished players and train them at PNSA, the federation must explore their options and invite fresh players, appoint top former greats to train the youth and achieve the desired results.

“The federation needs to revive planning, as it makes no sense of having non-qualified coaches at the academies, which must show decent progress, as lot of finances are being utilised but in return, they have failed to produce results. For me, winning in non-PSA ranked tournaments means nothing, rather it’s a wastage of time and money. So instead of wasting energies at Qatar, Iran, Jordan like unknown places, the PSF should ensure juniors must visit Hong Kong, Malaysia and even India, as squash is fast becoming hub in these places and they hold PSA tournaments round the year.

“Winning or losing means nothing, if our players can learn and polish their skills, they are bound to excel and they will soon improve their PSA rankings. It is quite disturbing fact that none of the Pakistani players are even in top 70 in the latest PSA rankings. There was a time when Pakistanis used to dominate PSA rankings, but now we are nowhere in top 70s. The PSF must pay special attention towards this area, as without improving PSA rankings, our players will never get better draws in PSA tournaments and they are bound to exit earlier than expectations,” he added.

He said there was a time when a country India was not even top 50s in squash and presently, their players are among top 15. “India is conducting international and Asian level tournaments at home, but their high commission are not issuing visas to Pakistani players and using delaying tactics, which is an insult for our players and against the laws of international sports.

“A protest should be launched on part of government while the PSF, Pakistan Sports Board and Pakistan Olympic Association should also raise the issue before international governing bodies of squash including PSA, WSF and ASF, so that no one dare to do so,” he added.