ISLAMABAD - Farhan Mehboob proved his mettle to the world and Pakistan Squash Federation by stunning world champion and No 2 Karim Abdel Gawad 3-1 on the final day of the Pakistan-V vs Egypt-V squash series, which concluded here at Mushaf Squash Complex on Sunday.
While Israr Ahmed thrashed Mohamed Aboulghar 3-0 in the earlier match on Sunday with Egypt winning the series 3-2, as the guests gave Pakistan players real bashing to take 3-0 lead a day earlier and had already sealed the fate of the series. In the first match of the day, Israr Ahmed was up against Mohamed Aboulghar, who looked completely off-coloured. Israr took the first game 11-3, won the second 11-2 and third 11-8 to win the encounter in 25 minutes.
In arguably the best match of entire series, Farhan Mehboob played superbly against world number 2 Karim Abdel Gawad. The first game was played on electrifying pace, as both the players displayed world class squash, but Farhan succeeded in winning the game 17-15. Gawad then bounced back to take the second game 11-6. Farhan was not in a mood to allow Gawad any chances to ruin his party, so he entered the court in different mood and played some breathtaking squash which helped him win the game 11-5.
Same was the case in 4th game, where Farhan was dictating the terms, while Gawad was looking tired and hapless. With tremendous crowd support, Farhan finished the game in great style to win it 11-5, thus won the encounter in 44 minutes. The entire arena erupted with thunderous applause and started raising ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ slogans.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa NI (M), HI (M) graced the occasion as chief guest and distributed prizes and trophies among the players and announced special cash incentive of Rs 500,000 for Farhan Mehboob and Rs 300,000 for Israr Ahmed.
Although Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) organised the event in a successful manner, yet they backed off from their promise, they have made with the sports journalists of twin cities to allow them to cover the final day of the series. At one end, PAF officers, families, referees’ families and irrelevant persons were given access to the Mushaf Complex but on the other hand, sports journalists, who are the stakeholders and shows positive and sports-friendly image of the country to the entire world, were treated as aliens. Despite several requests being made to PAF chief, who is also PSF president, to ensure sports journalists must be given their due right of covering the event, no heed was paid.
Only a few senior sports journalists, including this scribe, were contacted through junior officer to witness the final day as only guests and they won’t be allowed to perform any sort of professional duty.
What is the purpose of inviting only a few journalists? Had the federation arranged sports journalists’ interaction with the Egyptian players, it would have been served well, as the guests might have talked about hospitality, love and beauty of the country and its people and also send positive message to international community. It is high time, when the PSF president must take notice of PSF’s ill-treatment with the journalists and ensure they must be allowed to cover important sports events.