KARACHI: Despite Aisamul Haq Qureshi’s semi-finals exit from the French Open, the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) remains hopeful of the country’s representation at this year’s London Olympics.
Aisam, who needed to win in the final to confirm a London berth, crashed out in the last-four of the men’s doubles event and failed to earn enough ATP points to be ranked among the top-10 — a prerequisite to confirm participation in the event. However, PTF Secretary Mumtaz Yousuf said the federation had applied for a wild-card entry and a decision by the International Tennis Federation is expected on June 14.
“The Olympic dream isn’t over yet,” Yousuf told The Express Tribune. “We’re doing everything we can to get the wild-card entry. Aisam did his best and we’re getting this opportunity because of him. If we get the wild-card entry, it’ll be historic. We have also taken this matter to the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA). They will make sure that the International Olympic Association (IOC) considers our case.”
Yousuf added that Pakistan had a very good chance since there was enough room for the ITF to accommodate Aisam and the country’s top-ranked player Aqeel Khan.
“We have submitted the entries and we are positive. Aisam has played his heart out, and Aqeel is also eligible now since he’s earned the ranking points this year.”
The closing date for the wildcards is June 21.
“Going to the Olympics is not only going to benefit the players but it will also take tennis to a new level in Pakistan. More people will take up the sport and it will definitely make a huge mark internationally.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 9th, 2012.
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