In a bid to bring sporting action to war-stricken Waziristan, the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) is planning to hold an event in the mountainous region featuring top national players of the country, according to the federation’s secretary.
Waziristan has been affected by drone attacks since the start of war against terrorism and Taliban resurgence. Well aware of the dangers the area possesses, the PTF has started preparations for holding an event in the region.
“It is difficult but not impossible,” PTF Secretary Mumtaz Yusuf told The Express Tribune. “We will have to bring sports in the region and we have already formulated an initial plan for holding the tournament.
“All national players, including the senior players who are available, will take part in the event,” he said adding the federation has already taken permission from the military which controls Waziristan. “They have given us the go-ahead and have assured their support in holding the event.
“A successful event will send a positive signal to the world and will also bring some respite to the people of the region.”
The event, according to Yusuf, will only be possible after July due to the hectic schedule of the federation which will hold a training camp under the newly-appointed India coach besides preparing for the Davis Cup tie that takes place in July.
Birbal to arrive on May 5
The PTF has also announced the arrival of Indian coach Birbal Wadhera, who is set to start his short stint with the national players from May 5.
“The coach will work with players from all group ages,” said Yusuf adding that the federation may extend his stay in Pakistan in a bid to get extensive training for players. “We will try to extend his stay by 15 days as a month will not be enough to work with our huge number of players.”
PTF to invite Sania for ‘Peace Match’
The PTF has revealed Indian star Sania Mirza will also be invited for a ladies exhibition match alongwith the planned Peace Match between Aisamul Haq Qureshi and Rohan Bopanna.
The federation has sought permission and security clearance from the government for the after Aisam’s call to hold the match on the Wagah border to foster reconciliation efforts with India.
“We are awaiting the NOC and security clearance for the match,” said Yusuf. “We will invite Mirza and will request Shoaib Malik to convince her to attend the event.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2011.