MARSEILLE - World Squash Federation (WSF) President Jacques Fontane Tuesday extended his best wishes to Pakistan and said, he had great admiration, regard and respect for Pakistan being the land of squash greats and world champions and ready to help Pakistan in best possible fashion.

During an exclusive interview to The Nation at Modern Squash Club Fontane said there were lot of speculations regarding terrorism and no one talks about terrorist activities in Afghanistan, Iraq or anywhere around but Pakistan has been singled out. “I feel for them and one should check the ground reality before issuing any statement. I personally want Pakistan squash to excel as being the former champions and having the likes of Jahangir, Jansher, Qamar Zaman, it is their right to get due recognition.”

He said it is the PSA, which decides about awarding tournaments, not the WSF and the WSF meeting on 30th of this month, would not discuss awarding tournaments to Pakistan or any other country.

When asked when the next AGM of WSF would be held and Pakistan would be on the agenda, he replied next AGM would be held in November next year. “Now I am the president of the WSF for little over one year. I want to work for the betterment of squash and take this game to every corner of the universe.”

He further said, the basic aim of conducting the World Team Squash Championship in Marseille was to attract next generation towards this beautiful sports. “I can understand the venue is not ideal and players, spectators and referees are facing lot of difficulties, but we have to live with that. We have arranged another venue, which would be used for quarterfinals, semis and final. Actually we are planning for the Olympics bid so we are highly busy, it is the last major event and awarded to Marseille. We didn’t have better place to conduct the championship, but after initial rounds, the venue will be changed and things will improve.”

When this scribe asked Fontane if invited by Pakistan Squash Federation for the coming Pakistan Open next month, he replied he had never visited Pakistan and he would love to travel to witness the land of champions. “As I said, we are planning to bid for Olympics and I am also involved so I had a highly tight schedule. But having said that, if invited, I will check my schedule and will try to manage for even a day or two as I don’t want to miss that golden opportunity as I want to meet legends of squash. I want to see Islamabad as I had heard so much about the city.”

He said he personally feels that Pakistan should host maximum events every year. “I want squash return to every place and, being the president of WSF it is my utmost effort and will do whatever I can to take squash to new heights,” Fontane concluded.