ISLAMABAD  -  Tayyab Aslam survived another scare as he defeated Asim Khan 3-2 in the $30,000 Serena Hotels Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) International Squash for Men 2018 quarterfinals here at Mushaf Squash Complex on Wednesday.

Asim had very little chance against Tayyab, who had vast experience of playing in the PSA events and was former Pakistan No 1 as well. Tayyab simply outclassed Asim in the first game, taking it 11-3, but after losing the first game, Asim fought back well and took the second game 12-10. Tayyab had chances to wrap up the third game, but Asim responded in style and finally prevailed to win the game 16-14.

After losing the third game, Tayyab entered the court with positive frame of mind and settled down well. His cool and calm composure paid off, as he took the fourth game 11-5 and after facing tough resistance, he also won the fifth game 11-9 to win the marathon encounter in almost 1 hour and 30 minutes. He will now take on top seed Hong Kong’s Leo Au in semifinals.

In the second quarterfinal, Leo Au hammered Egyptian Mazen Gamal 3-0 in 42 minutes. It took Au some time to settle down in the first game, before winning it 11-8 and also won the second game 11-7 and third game 11-6 to register victory.

The third quarterfinal saw Egyptian Youseff Soliman stunning compatriot Omar Abdel Meguid 3-0 in 30 minutes. Omar is well-known for body check and blocking the players’ path towards the ball, but Soliman kept his composure and took the first game 12-10, won the second 11-3 and third 12-10 to set up semifinal date with Malaysian Nafizwan Adnan, who thrashed Egyptian Mostafa Asal 3-0 in 30 minutes, winning the encounter by 11-6, 11-5, 11-4.

In the $10,000 Pakistan International Squash Tournament for Women, top seed Egyptian Rowan Elarby crushed local hope Faiza Zafar 3-0 in just 20 minutes. Rowan took the first game 11-5, won the second 11-6 and third game 11-5. The last home hope Madina Zafar, who is younger sister of Faiza Zafar, was also sent packing by Hong Kong’s Tong Tsz-Wing 3-0 in 29 minutes. Tong won first game 11-8, grabbed the second 11-4 and third 11-5 to set up semifinal clash with Egyptian Nada Abbas.

In the third quarterfinal, Egyptian Farida Momen beat compatriot Menna Hameed 3-1 in 52 minutes. Farida won the first game 13-11, lost the second 4-11, but she bounced back well to win the third game 11-6 and fourth 13-11 to set semifinal clash against top seed Rowan. In the last quarterfinal, Egyptian Nada Abbas beat Netherlands Tessa ter Sluis 3-1 in 28 minutes. Nada won the first game 11-6, took the second 11-2, lost the third 7-11 and won the fourth 11-7.

The highly controversial refereeing was witnessed during the matches and the players were very upset with it, but Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) never bothered to pay any heed to this particular issue, which brought huge negativity and disrespect to the country.

The PSF was informed time and again to invite top class referees thorough WSF and PSA to conduct such high-profile events, but no heed was paid in this regard and same old referees, who had almost zero international exposure and absolutely no command, were given nod of approval, who are now bringing bad name to the country through pathetic refereeing. Tayyab Aslam lost his temper on number of occasions and also threw his racket in the court, but he got away with simple conduct warning.

Fahim Gul is not only a highly-qualified international coach, but also a world class referee, as he had conducted a number of international courses in Pakistan, but strangely, the federation is highly upset with Fahim and not only denied him of refereeing, but also didn’t bother to issue him accreditation card for the matches. He obtains entry pass daily to witness the matches. Same is the case with Mehboob Khan, who is also being treated in same way.

Like other sports, squash also needs spectators and it makes no sense of conducting high-prize tournaments with empty seats. The PSF must not rule out security prospect, but at least school kids should be allowed to watch the matches, as it will send very positive message to international community and also give heart to the players. It is hoped that the PSF President will look into the matter and seek explanation from the responsible persons.