PESHAWAR - Promising and emerging u-19 National squash champion Ahsan Ayaz says his eyes are now on the world title and hopes squash will see better days in future in Pakistan.

“If squash players are sponsored and properly facilitated, the day is no too much far away when past glory in the game will be brought back,” Ahsan says while talking to The Nation Thursday.

Recently returned from UAE, where he clinched Hasan Baddar Super Squash Cup after defeating UAE’s Mubarak Mohsin 3-0, Ahsan says squash players lack even basic facilities, if we compare it with other countries. “My father sponsors me, whether to play in national or international event.”

Pakistan’s squash players don’t get sponsorship, which affects the game directly. Despite a fact, “we have too much talented squash players in the country”. “Foreigner squash players find a lot financial support and all sort of training facilities, while in Pakistan they don’t have such backing, which is regrettable. There is enough sponsorship for hockey and cricket, but nothing for squash and that is a big problem,” he added.  “Mostly squash players face financial constraints and lack of coaches. All these major facilities are provided to the players of other countries by their respective sponsors or squash federations, but here the situation is different,” Ahsan, who belongs to Peshawar Saddar, stated.  “If a player can't afford a huge amount of money, how will he be able to represent Pakistan internationally? I believe we are equipped with a lot of talent, but no financial support and no sponsors are dusting our talents,” he regretted.

Ahsan, whose father is doing job in PAF, said squash was a game of hardworking. “I do eight hours practice daily. If there is no bad luck, I am striving hard to bring past glory back in squash, as Pakistan has dominated in the game for decades.” “I represent PAF and won u-11, 13, 15 and 17 national championships. I have now the title of u-19 national squash championship. I am the first one in my family, who is playing squash and making records,” Ahsan said.

Studying Pre-Engineering at PAF Degree College in Peshawar, Ahsan said that he had won Redtone Seven Open Kuala Lumpur International Asian Squash Championship three months back by defeating Mohd Aqif Ampandi of Malaysia. A total of 40 players from India, Malaysia, Pakistan and Singapore played in the event. Ahsan, who has recently joined Professional Squash Association (PSA), stated he would also participate in the upcoming Qatar Open International U-19 Squash Championship, which would begin on March 1-5, and Doha Open International Squash Championship would commence from March 6-16. About 15 players would take part in these championships only from Pakistan, he added.  “My coach is Fahim Khan, who is living in Dubai. He is among the best coaches in the world. I have learned a lot from him and still learning through internet.”

Here, in Peshawar, Gudo Pervez and Gul Sher train me and give me tips. It is the dream of every player to be No 1 in their sport but to attain that privilege, one has to struggle hard,” he concluded.