Zoya clinches women’s squash championship

Published: March 31, 2013

ZTBL player beats teammate Riffat to win Islamabad event.

ISLAMABAD: Zoya Khalid of the Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) lifted the second Annual Safari National Women Squash Championship trophy yesterday with a comfortable victory in the tournament final.

In the all-ZTBL final, Zoya beat Riffat Khan 11-1, 11-9, 15-13 and 11-9 with an imposing display of drop and crosscourt shots.

Zoya, 20, dominated for most of the first three games but could not finish off her opponent in straight games when she had the chance.

At match point in the third game, she dropped two points to let Riffat back into the match. The game got exciting as both players rallied hard to stop the other from winning. Finally, Riffat won the third game 15-13 to force a fourth game.

Riffat tried to stage a comeback in the fourth game but could not avoid Zoya steamrolling her to victory.

Zoya and Riffat both belong to Lahore and said they are good friends outside the court but competitive on it.

“Inside the court, we become the worst enemies,” Zoya told The Express Tribune. “Everyone wants to win.”

The two young players also practise together.

“We know a little bit of each other’s weaknesses and strengths,” said Zoya. “But the pressure of the game is such that we end up changing our style of play during the match.”

Sixteen women squash players from around Pakistan participated in the four-day championship, which was played at the Safari Club in Bahria Town, Rawalpindi.

Chief guest Air Vice Marshal (Retd.) Razi Nawab, the senior vice president of the Pakistan Squash Federation, distributed trophies, shields and cash prizes among the winners and runner-ups.

Zoya and Riffat received Rs50,000 and Rs30,000 respectively while Saima Shoukat, of Wapda, got Rs25,000 after finishing in third place.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 1st, 2013.

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