LAHORE Wajid Ali, Umer Zeeshan, Rizwan Azam and Kashif Sulehri recorded victories in qualifying rounds of the Asian Badminton Championships in New Delhi, India. Wajid Ali advanced to second round of qualifying by beating Burhanudin Mir of Afghanistan convincingly by the score of 21-6, 21-7. Rizwan Azam and Kashif Sulehri of Pakistan easily beat Ajfan Rasheed and Sharafuding Naseem of Maldives by the score of 21-14, 21-5 in mens doubles. Pakistan doubles pair of Wajid Ali and Umer Zeeshan beat Hashita Chanake and Rajitha of Sri Lanka in a hard fought three-set match by the score of 19-21, 21-16 and 21-16. However, Pakistan ladies Sara Khan and Palwasha Bashir lost their matches. Sara Khan lost to Thulasi of India by the score of 21-9, 21-10 and Palwasha Bashir lost to Lekha Sherani of Sri Lanka by the score of 21-9, 21-12. Syed Naqi Mohsin, Senior Vice President Pakistan Badminton Federation, stated that Pakistani players came with a disadvantage as they had not participated in any international tournament for the last one-and-half year due to much reduced grant. He further stated that Pakistani doubles players lost their ranking from 62 in men doubles and 106 in men singles and had to play in qualifying rounds and again have to play with seeded players in the main round. According to reports, the Pakistan team does not have a coach and a manager and they were not even sure of touring India till the last moment but these problems failed to deter the six Pakistani shuttlers who are now looking to prove their mettle in the Asian Badminton Championship in India. Our visas were delayed and till the last moment we were not sure of touring India. We couldnt bring our coach and manager as only six people were allowed by the organising committee here and so it was decided that as many shuttlers possible should go, Palwasha said. Wajid, who has toured India several times before, said the problem lies with both the nations and they should make it a point to allow sportsperson to participate in tournaments without creating any complications. Visa problem is a big issue. Both the governments should understand that we are just sportspersons and playing for our respective nations. Why there should be such a fuss for giving visas to Pakistani players in India and vice versa when other foreigners are easily given the visas, he argued. Rizwan also echoed similar views. Sports and politics are different and they shouldnt be mixed. If we take the case of the IPL, the way our players were treated it looks like a planned effort, otherwise how can you keep away players from the world champion team outside the IPL scheme of things? he was reported to have said. There is a huge craze for cricket and media also covers more cricket. Badminton is a little behind the curtains in Pakistan and so it is more of an individual fight to train and keep the passion alive, said Palwasha, who idolises Lin Dan and Taufik Hidayat. There are around 4-5 ranking tournaments in the country in a year. Before the ABC there was a trail of top eight shuttlers. International tournaments have come to a standstill. It was around two years that the last tournament was hosted in Pakistan and now it wont be safe also, she added. With Indias tennis star Sania Mirza and Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Malik tying the knot, a new bonding is ushering in between the two nations and the shuttlers feel it is a good news for the two country. It is a good idea, but I think Sania should change her nationality after marriage and settle in Pakistan instead of setting in a neutral country, Pulwasha said. But when asked if she would do the same if she is ever married to an Indian, she burst into a smile and said she was not sure but will make some compromises. It is their individual decision. It is good but the media shouldnt give so much importance to it. There are many other important issues pertaining to the two nations which needs to be discussed, Rizwan said.