Marwan crowned Pakistan Open Squash champion

ISLAMABAD – Magician Marwan El Shorbagy outpaced countryman Mohamed Abouelghar 3-1 to become crowned champion of the Serena Hotels Pakistan Open Men’s Squash Championship 2017 played here at Mushaf Squash Complex Saturday.

Marwan simply routed Abouelghar in the first game to take it 11-3 in only 7 minutes. Abouelghar started the second game on aggressive mood and put Marwan under tremendous pressure, which helped him win the second game 11-7 in 12 minutes. Marwan then started playing very aggressively, played outstanding squash and raced on to win the third game 11-8 in 12 minutes.

It was one-way traffic in the fourth game, which was fully dominated by Marwan, who first toyed with his opponent and then played some match-winning shots to take the game 11-6 in 8 minutes, thus won the final in just 39 minutes. Soon after winning the final, Marwan bowed down on the floor to pay thanks to Almighty, then both the players hugged each other, and Abouelghar then congratulated Marwan for his title victory.

Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of the Air Staff, who is also Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) President, graced the final as chief guest and awarded trophies to the players. Former world squash champions Jahangir Khan, Qamar Zaman Khan and PAF officers and a great number of squash lovers were also present on the occasion.

Serena Hotels Pakistan Open Squash Championship 2017, carried a prize purse of $50,000, returned to Pakistan after a lapse of 10 years. The qualifying round started form December 17, while the main round commenced from 19th. As many as 24 international players from different countries along with Pakistani players participated in the event, but to the utter disappointment of local crowd, none of the Pakistani players even managed to play in the quarterfinals, which is a huge set back and a question mark on their commitment. The PSF must take stern notice of their failure, while it also shows that the PNSA is not delivering.

The arrangement made by the Pakistan Squash Federation was highly appreciable, as despite having only 800 seats available and knowing the fact, top international male and female players have arrived the country, the federation ensured no one might leave out. The PSF provided passes to not only PAF and sponsors, but also to commoners and for the very first time sports journalists didn’t face even minor issue to perform their official duties. Even though a few sports journalists didn’t even had accreditation cards, but Squadron Leader Wasim and others were present at the entry points to ensure smooth entry for all the journalists.

The federation must pay heed towards irresponsible and unacceptable rude behaviour of Pakistan National Squash Academy Director Air Commodore (R) Aftab Sadiq Qureshi, who always has attitude problem and create troubles for the federation, players and journalists. The gentleman doesn’t know the ABC of squash, but was appointed as PNSA director, just because of his close links with the high ups. He was reported for creating troubles on a number of occasions in the past too, but no heed was paid. Even former greats and players have several times reported about his non-professional behaviour and attitude, but nothing was done practically. The time is high when such non-technocrat person must be sent packing, as Pakistan squash has already suffering and going down with each passing day.

Some certain circles are blaming the PSF for wasting money by holding international tournaments and advising the federation to spend money on juniors and senior players, but these elements completely forget that the players are not even giving ordinary results. It takes around Rs 1.2 million on a single player to send him in the PSA events, and if they don’t perform, then it is the real wastage of money.

The money can be utilized in the best possible manner by hosting maximum PSA events in Pakistan, but PSA is another major obstacle, as they are sighting so-called security issues and don’t allow Pakistan to conduct major events and always issue negative warning to the players. The federation must be given credit for hosting major events, providing facilities, accommodation and each and every thing to the players, who mostly flop in international events.

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