ISLAMABAD Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) is going to conduct Pakistan International Squash Tournament for local players only from August 26 to 30 here at Mushaf Squash Complex.

PSF Secretary Group Captain Tahir Sultan has announced this while talking to The Nation. “The men’s tournament carries $10,000 prize money and women’s $5,000. We have requested the PSA to allocate us at least three $10,000 male events and same number of $5,000 female events. Our players have to struggle hard to get into main rounds of the PSA tournaments after the PSA abolished qualification rounds and only top ranked players will be able to play in the major tournaments.”

He said that PSA has very kindly accepted their request and allocated three tournaments each for only Pakistani players. “Punjab has already organised the events, while Islamabad is hosting from May 26 and we are waiting for Sindh Squash Association (SSA) to announce dates for Karachi men and women events.

“The basic aim of ensuring tournaments for Pakistani players is to provide them chances to collect PSA points. They can’t get chances in international events because of their poor rankings. The federation always strives for providing maximum opportunities to local players, while we also have in mind female players and we want to provide them best opportunities like male players, so that they may excel at higher level,” he added.

Tahir said the federation can’t afford to send bulk of local players abroad for PSA tournaments, so that’s why it is hosting three PSA tournaments for male as well as female players to boost their international ranking and give them chance to play in major PSA tournaments.

The PSF Secretary said that the Annual General Meeting of the federation will be held in next few days, where the bidding for major tournaments in Pakistan will be decided later this year or earlier next year. “We have spent millions on the training and coaching of the players and in return, we want them to give out their best and earn laurels for the country at international level.”

Pakistan produced pathetic results in the recently-concluded World Junior Individual Championship in Malaysia. The PSF always claims that it is investing heavily on junior players but in return, they are also producing poor results. On this, Tahir said: “We are not expecting our junior players to bow out so easily at very early stages.

“We want them to play at least semifinals and try to win international tournaments. It was players’ duty to perform up to the mark, but they failed to do so. Being a manager of Pakistan team, I have submitted report to the federation, which will be discussed in the AGM.”

The PSF secretary said all the top senior and junior players will be in action in the $10,000 event in Islamabad. “Tayyab Aslam is top seed in men’s category while Farhan Mehboob, Farhan Zaman, Asim Khan, Israr Ahmed, Ammad Fareed and others will also exhibit their prowess during the event.

“Wildcards were also given to junior players to learn from the seniors. In $5000 ladies event, Madina Zafar is top seed and veteran Muqaddas Ashraf second seed. These events will help us make the best combinations for upcoming events including South Asian Games,” Tahir concluded.