ISLAMABAD - Farhan Zaman defeated world number 18 India’s Sauruv Ghosal in the semi-final to ensure both Gold and Silver for Pakistan in the 12th South Asian Games squash singles in Guwati on Sunday.

It was a great day for Pakistan squash as top Pakistan player Nasir Iqbal beat another Indian Harinder Pal Singh Sidhu to make it all-Pakistan final. While icing on the cake was Maria Toor Paki victory over Sri Lankan Milhiya Methsarani in ladies semi-final. However, Sadia Gul went down fighting against top seed Joshana Channapa of India.

It was great day for Pakistan as Lianna Swan won first gold medal for country in swimming in 200 M Breaststroke and Female Relay team Bronze Medal in 4 x100 Freestyle Relay. Lianna Swan added another medal to her tally as she won silver medal in 100M Breaststroke while Naveed Hussain won bronze medal for Pakistan in 200M Backstroke.

Wrestler Muhammad Inam, who was left high and dry at Kolkata Airport for 18 hours, won gold medal for Pakistan in86kg wrestling as he defeated Indian Gopal Yadav in the final.

Pakistan female table tennis team won silver medal and Pakistan male team won bronze medal. It was first female silver for country after 12 years long wait.

Pakistan hockey team also beat Sri Lanka 3-0. Tassawar Abbas, Aleem Bilal and Arsaalan Qadir scored for Pakistan.

While talking exclusively to The Nation from Guwati, a relaxed Farhan Zaman attributed his victory to superb and tireless coaching of former world number 14 Shahid Zaman Khan, who made him a different class and all his recent successes are just because of Shahid, who helped him with everything in USA. “I can never forget what Shahid had done for me. I owe to none other than Shahid Zaman and Pakistan Squash Federation, who believed in  me, spent on me and sent me to USA for training and participating in PSA events.”

He also praised Indian crowd, who were very supportive and said that it was hard to believe that he was playing in India or Pakistan. “Believe me, I had never even get such appreciation, support even in Pakistan. I really appreciate and thanked Indian highly supportive crowd, while referring was also pretty good, which was not expected, when a local lad is playing against outsider.”

Farhan said he entered in the court against high ranked and more experienced rival Ghosal to go all out attacking and his strategy paid great dividend for him. Farhan completely outclassed Ghosal in the first game and took the game 11-4. Almost same was the case in the second game, Ghosal looked puzzled and highly shocked as he was not expecting such treatment as Farhan took second game 11-5. Ghosal, sensing things getting out of his hands, played highly aggressively in third game and won the game 12-10. However, it was all Indian player could do as Farhan responded aggressively and took the fourth game 11-5 to make it the final of the event.

It was double shock for the hosts in second semi-final, who were not expecting that Saurav would lose, although they were aware Nasir is a much better player and second seed and Harinder stood very little chance against Nasir. Nasir started brightly and took the first game 11-7. Harinder bounced back to take the second game 14-12. Nasir, realising the danger, played with more control and authority and took the third game 11-7 and was even more comfortable in the 4th game winning the game 11-6 to set up all-Pakistan final clash. Sharing his views Nasir thanked his coach Tahir Iqbal Khan, who is also his elder brother and the PSF for supporting him and other players. “I am glad, it would be Farhan and me vying for the top honours, which mean Pakistan squash is the eventual winner.”

Maria Toor Pakai capped the great day for Pakistan by reaching the ladies’ final as she defeated top Sri Lankan player Milhiya Methsarani 3-1. Maria won the first game 11/8, lost second 6/11, before winning next two games 11/2 and 11/2 to set up final date with Indian top seed Joshana Channapa, who beat Sadia Gul of Pakistan in the second semi-final. Joshna having vast international experience, top WSA rankings was taking Sadia lightly, but the young Pakistani top junior player, who had won lot of senior titles back home recently was not in a mood to go down without a fight. Sadia gave a real run to Joshana before going down fighting. Saida lost 9-11, 7-11 and 9-11.