ISLAMABAD   -   Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) Game Development Officer Squadron Leader Aamir Iqbal has said that the federation is hopeful about the junior players’ performances in the upcoming high-profile junior events.

Talking to The Nation, Aamir said: “Our junior players along with coaches have returned from Egypt after going through highly intensive training under the watchful eyes of Egyptian coach Eslam Hany, who was assisted by Pakistani coach Asif Khan. The boys, who went through 45 days training in Egypt, are Saboor Khan U/13, Hamza Khan U/15, Noor Zaman U/17, Farhan Hashmi U /17, Haris Qasim U/19 and Hamza Sharif U/19. Pakistan National Squash Academy (PNSA) Director Aftab Sadiq Qureshi also visited Egypt to see youngsters training there.”

He said after returning from Egypt, these players, along with others, were provided highly advanced training by M Yasin, Fazal Shah and Asif Khan at Mushaf Squash Complex. “As part of plan for junior players’ development, the PSF will be sending a group of junior players for participation in upcoming international junior tournaments being held during June and July.

“The events include 26th Asian Junior Individual Squash Championship to be played at Macau from June 26 to 30, where Haris Qasim and Hamza Sharif will play in U-19 category, M Farhan Hashmi and Noor Zaman in U-17 category, Mohammad Hamza Khan and Anas Ali Shah in U-15 category, whereas Saboor Khan and Abdullah Nawaz will represent Pakistan in U-13 categories,” he added.

Amir said said Borneo Junior Open will be played in Malaysia from July 2 to 6. “Naveed Rehman will play in U-19 category, Waleed Khalil in U-17, Ashab Irfan in U-17, M Hanif in U-15 and Humam Ahmed in U-15 categories. In Penang Junior Open to be played in Malaysia from July 9 to 14, Naveed Rehman will feature in U-19 category, Waleed Khalil and Ashab Irfan in U-17, M Hanif, Humam Ahmed and Anas Ali Shah in U-15 while Saboor Khan and Abdullah Nawaz in U-13 categories.”

He said that in World Junior Individual Squash Championship to be played in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from July 30 to August 4, Haris Qasim, Hamza Sharif, Naveed Rehman, Mohammad Farhan Hashmi, Noor Zaman and M Hamza Khan will represent Pakistan. The PSF has also asked provincial squash associations and affiliated members to sponsor their potential players for participation in these events.

The PSF official said as mega junior tournaments are coming thick and fast and as per federation’s emphasize on paying full focus and attention on junior players, the above mentioned players were deputed to Egypt to train well for the such mega events. “We sponsored our players to prepare them well for the coming events. The PSF can provide facilities, training, exposure, spend huge money on players’ travelling and participation in mega events, but we can’t hold rackets in their place, so it is their national and moral duty to pay back the federation’s confidence by giving out their best.”

“The federation is keeping eyes on future stars of Pakistan and same attention is being paid towards senior players’ development. On the directives of PSF President and Senior Vice President, we are trying our best to provide maximum tournaments to our players in and outside the country. The PSF has not only hosted male and female PSA events in Pakistan but also trying to host more PSA tournaments so that our players may play against the best in the business and earn much-needed PSA ranking points,” Aamir concluded.