KARACHI: Pakistan number one squash player Aamir Atlas and compatriot Farhan Mehboob will be leaving tonight for the Swedish Open that kicks off from February 1 in Linkoping. Both players are placed in the main rounds of the tournament that is offering $60,000 as prize money.
The world number 29 has been allowed to play in the tournament by the Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) despite the six-month long ban imposed on him earlier for having violated its code of conduct. “The PSF has allowed me to take part in the tournament as the ban only bars me for using the PSF’s facilities,” Atlas told The Express Tribune.
However, the 21-year old said he was running short of practice due to the ban. “I am going without training as I was not allowed in courts because of the ban. All I can do is count on my fitness and experience to do well in the tournament.”
Atlas will be bearing his own expenses for the event but the federation has promised to reimburse the cost of his trip if he manages to secure a place in the semi-finals.
Meanwhile, Atlas is hopeful that his ban will be lifted soon so that he can start using the federation’s facilities. “I am hopeful after the meeting I had with the sports minister which assured me that my ban would be lifted soon. I will only focus on my performance after my ban reversal and will try to avoid controversies.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 31st, 2011.
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