KARACHI  -    Team Islamabad looked highly confident about doing exceptionally well in the 5th PTBF National Ranking Tenpin Bowling Championship-2019, presently under way here at Arena Bowling Alley, Karsaz.

Comprising three present and former national champions, Islamabad had entered the event as hot-favourites to win both main categories, Masters singles and Trios, led by three-time national champion Ijaz Ur Rehman, while doubles champions Saleem Baig and Muhammad Hussian Chatha, who are also former one time national champions as well and having massive international exposure, Islamabad bowlers had every right to be tag as favourites, while they also had the likes of Saqib Shahzad and Asim Ayub Butt. Saqib is also vastly experienced and had toured with Pakistan team for countless international events.

Talking to The Nation on Thursday, Saqib said he was highly convinced with the announcement made by the federation regarding selection of Pakistani bowlers for international events only through merit and as per national rankings. “It is a very positive and step in the right direction. We badly feel that representing country is every bowlers dream. I know Ijaz is doing a tremendous job and providing justice to every player, but even then I feel there was need to clear things and provide youngsters equal and just opportunities. After long time I had witnessed unity amongst the bowlers and it gives me immense pleasure.”

Sharing his views Asim Butt said: “It is my first experience of playing in such mega event but I feel it is perfect opportunity for me to learn a great deal alongside the best in the country. I will try to give my best and will try to focus mainly on Trios along with Saqib and third player we are looking for. Arena looks outdated, lanes also not looking great. We are used to playing on top class lanes at Leisure Citi Bowling Club. Let’s see what comes next here, but we are here to compete and win.”

While sharing his views Pakistan’s most experienced and oldest player Saleem Baig, who is also former national champion and holds the record of winning most number of doubles titles partnering M Hussian Chatha said: “I think Islamabad entered with their top most players and I feel we will take titles. The federation always try to hold major tournaments to unearth fresh talent and we will continue to hold events like this in future too.”

Sharing his views former national singles and doubles champion Hussian Chatha said: “I was dead busy and was not coming, but had to come for my Islamabad players as I couldn’t refuse to my teammates. Now I am here let me assure my team that I won’t let them down and will help in best possible fashion to land both major titles.”

PTBF Secretary and Pakistan’s highly decorated and most successful bowler Ijaz Ur Rehman said: “We are here with full preparations and we had best players, who know the game very well. Although Arena Bowling Club is highly outdated, not suitable for holding mega events, but even then we will play and try to not let ourselves down.”