ISLAMABAD-Pakistani girls looked highly optimistic about their chances in the 19th Asian Squash Team Championship 2018, which will start in Cheongju, Korea today.

While talking exclusively to The Nation Madina Zafar, Faiza Zafar and Riffat Khan said despite being highly handicapped in the absence of lone international star Maria Toor Paki and unavailability of fourth player they were ready to keep Pakistan flag high in the event.

Pakistan are seeded 4th among 11 nations in the event and are in tough Pool-A alongside top seeds Hong Kong, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Pool-B looks also competitive with the likes of Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Iran and Chinese Taipei. However these players were least bothered as they said considering their preparations and training it doesn’t matter

“We will like to say a big thanks to Pakistan Squash Federation for keeping faith in us, giving us same training under the same coaches, who trained male players and also sending us 3 days earlier from the start of the championship. Trust us, we never took even a day’s rest and the day, we landed in Korea, we were in the courts, training and preparing ourselves for the battle ahead.”

While sharing her views Madina, who is playing Asian Seniors Championship for the first time, said: “It is our responsibility to perform well. We will give our last drop of blood and try to come out with wonders. We were at the camp for last one-month. I would like to say big thanks to all our coaches, who worked very hard on our fitness and skill levels.

Madina said fitness comes first in all sports and fitness coach M Boota is with them and it is a great initiative by the federation as in case of injury Boota’s role is highly significant.

While sharing her views younger sister of Madina, Faiza said she was highly motivated and hopeful about her teams’ chances of doing well. “We are defending champions in male category, while we are seeded 4th in females. In the absence of India, we had bright chances of playing in the semi-finals and also try our level best to reach final. Our coaches worked day and night and helped us overcoming flaws both mentally and physically. We will try not to disappoint them and give more than 100 percent. I know we are completely new when it comes to playing against top ranked PSA females and Hong Kong had number of top class players in their ranks, but we will overcome experience through our skills and hard work.”

While sharing her views Pakistan’s arguably most experienced female player Riffat Khan, who had played and represented country thrice in Junior Asian and once in Asian Seniors before said she had trained hard for this event. “We went through two sessions daily, in morning physical training and in the evening we played squash, which really helped us a great deal. In the past we had travelled with coaches, but never before trainers accompany the teams. They had worked very hard, helped us in overcoming minor mistakes and especially in improving our stamina. Now we had reached Korea early, we had time to adjust to the conditions. We are getting opportunities and we want to grab them with both hands and come up with wonders and repay the confidence, which federation had pose in us,” Riffat concluded.