ISLAMABAD - Tayyab Aslam became new Pakistan No 1 squash player in the latest rankings issued by the Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) Sunday.

Tayyab, who turns 19 in August, had a remarkable 2014, as he managed to win Asian Junior Individual Squash title after defeating Indian top seed Kush Kumar in the final played in Kish, Iran.

Talking to The Nation, Tayyab said: “It was like a dream come true to become Pakistan No 1 squash player at this early age. After achieving the first target, my next goal is to maintain this ranking first and break into the top 50 in PSA rankings by the end of the year. I have sent my entry for Portland $15,000 PSA event. I will try my best to win the event.”

He added: “I have already achieved my highest PSA ranking, world number 87, by performing well in US and then two PSA events back home at Lahore and Karachi, which will help boost my rankings further. I narrowly missed winning the DG Rangers Squash Championship at Karachi and lost the final against Farhan Mehboob, but that loss helped me a great deal in learning how to play in pressure matches.”

“I now set my sights on playing in both British Open and World Open. Last time, I played in World Open where I failed to go beyond qualifiers, but now I am an improved player, equipped with fresh techniques, better game, stamina and physical fitness. I have learnt how to play in the big matches and how to preserve energy. I am quite sure, now it will be very tough for my opponents to knock me down easily. I want to follow the footsteps of great Jahangir Khan, who won numerous British Open title. Being a young player, I still have time win the British Open, and if I fail at first attempt, I will try again and again to achieve this great feat,” Tayyab claimed.

“I am training very hard with my personal coach and trainer Abdul Rasheed, who is also my uncle, at Punjab Squash courts and  enjoying best years of my squash. I am playing squash for almost a decade now, as I started playing squash when I was 8-year-old. Time and experience has taught me a lot and now, coach Faheem Gul has training me well,” he said and added: “We are defending champions and we have to enter the event to defend our title. In the presence of Syed Ali Mujtaba Bokhari, Asim Khan and Israr Ahmed in our team, we are capable enough to retain the title.”

He said he had played in all the PSA events by his own pocket and only FMC had lent some helping hand to him.

“I am planning to play in the PSA events in New Zealand and other parts of the world to improve my international ranking. In the past, the Punjab Squash Association (PSA) helped players financially, so it is my request to the PSA and PSF to continue such supporting activities as it will help Pakistan players to get much-needed international exposure and improve their PSA rankings ,” Tayyab concluded.