KARACHI: While Pakistan squash has been struggling to emulate the heights of its golden days from the 1950s to the 1990s, Israr Ahmed, part of the team which recently won the World Squash Junior Team Championship, says the future is bright for the sport in the country.
Pakistan defeated squash powerhouse Egypt 2-1 in the final to claim the title they last won eight years ago and Ahmed, who played a crucial part in the team’s triumph, believes the players have received a huge confidence boost.
“This junior team title has instilled in us the belief that we can compete with the best players of the world in years to come, even in the senior category,” Ahmed told The Express Tribune.
The 19-year-old emphasised the importance of training and said that with focused youth development programmes, the sport can once again reach the heights it once was at.
“I can say the future is bright for us in squash and all we need now is the right training to become the best. At this junior level we’ve shown that Pakistan still have the best players coming up and it’s all about developing them,” he added.
Ahmed also credited the Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) for the victory, stating that it was because of the federation’s tireless efforts that the players were able to shine at such a big stage.
“PSF is doing an excellent job for Pakistan squash by giving players training all year round and also helping them play in a lot of Professional Squash Association PSA events. It’s great that four $25,000 PSA events would be held in Pakistan because it will certainly help us improve our world ranking,” he further said.
Meanwhile, the world junior team title attracted controversy as several teams objected about Pakistan fielding over-age players. However, PSF Secretary Amir Nawaz said that the hue and cry after the team’s triumph was uncalled for.
“Pakistan are the champions and they won the title. We were cleared by the World Squash Federation (WSF) during the competition after reservations came forward from the likes of Egypt, India, Malaysia and several other teams,” he clarified.
Courtesy : Express Tribune