ISLAMABAD-Female squash champion Faiza Zafar has said that her recent title win in PSA event will help her and national team to perform well in Asian Games.

Talking to The Nation, Faiza, who recently won $5000 Pakistan Squash Circuit-I title, said: “This tournament title triumph means a lot to me, as it will not only improve my international rankings, as I got 90 valuable points, but also boost up my confidence before going to Asian Games alongside my younger sister Madina Zafar and Riffat Khan. We have proved critics wrong by beating all the top female players, who come in our way prior to the final, as some certain circles were not ready to take us seriously, but now everything is crystal clear.”

Faiza said without playing PSA tournaments, Pakistani females can’t stand any realistic chance of doing well at international level. “We have to face top opponents in the main round and to cope with them, we need maximum international exposure and PSA matches. The more we’ll take part in PSA events in our country and abroad, the better results we’ll start producing against top squash players of the world.

“Soon after Islamabad, the next stop is Lahore and then my own city Karachi, where after long gap, a tournament for ladies is coming and international players will be in action as well, so it will provide us an opportunity to play alongside international players and pose challenge to top competitors,” she added.

Faiza rebuffed the claim made by a few quarters that the final of $5,000 Circuit-I Squash was not that much intense and nothing was on line. “The matter of the fact is that as far as Madina was concerned she was damn serious and I have realised that we are sisters only at home, but when it comes to competitions, we are complete strangers. At least, Madina proved that in the final, she was very aggressive and not ready to give me any favour of being elder.

“I treated her like a mother, but she was like a wounded tigress, who wanted to beat me at any cost. If I think for a while without getting emotional, I feel she was right, but being an elder, I couldn’t treat her in the same fashion. It was a highly tensed final and she gave me lot of thoughts before I finally managed to beat her,” she said.

Faiza said the way present PSF management has been investing, providing training with top coaches and arranging PSA tournaments, it will surely help in promoting women squash. “Sending us as a team will definitely boost not only our confidence, but also help us win something big for the country. It is although my first PSA title, but last year, I have won DG Rangers title in Karachi and I am currently Pakistan number one female player. I missed one tournament and I don’t know whether it hurts my national rankings or not, but hopefully after getting 90 points, I am still the top national player.

She said playing in such a wonderful environment, where all the past greats were sitting and watching them, really helped her a lot as a player, as it was her dream of playing alongside top females, who ruled Pakistan squash for long time. “Winning or losing was not in my mind till I reach the semifinals. It was great fun to beat Riffat, who is a very clever and seasoned campaigner and she really pushed me, but I successfully defeated her in style.”

“In August, I have to play as number one in Asian Games, so extra responsibility will be on my shoulders. I am grateful to all my coaches, PSF and all those, who believed in me and always remained at my side through thick and thin. I would also like to say special thanks to my parents, as without their support, I could have never even played squash. I am always ready to serve the country and will try my level best to carry nation’s hopes in international events,” Faiza concluded.