Squash: Atlas eyeing a top-20 return

Pakistan’s top-ranked squash players sets year-end as deadline.

Nabeel Hashmi August 07, 2012

KARACHI: Pakistan’s top squash player Amir Atlas Khan is aiming for a return in the top-20 by the end of the year.

Atlas, currently ranked 45th in the Professional Squash Association (PSA) list, has labelled the Malaysian Open, to be held next month, as a launching pad for the achievement. Atlas reached a career-high 14th but lack of participation in PSA tournaments led to the slump. However, he feels that appearance in an increased number of events will help him improve his rank and game.

“I’ve only taken part in one event in the last 12 months,” Atlas told The Express Tribune. “My initial plan is to break into the top-20 and for that I’ve decided to play at least seven major PSA tournaments that carry a fair amount of points.”

The player added that it was a disappointment after having  missed the British Open due to illness but remained confident of doing better at the other events.

“Injuries didn’t help my case as I missed out on several tournaments, including the prestigious British Open.”

‘PSF should arrange for sponsorships’

Meanwhile, Atlas requested the Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) to help him financially.

“I’ve given the names of the events I want to play after being asked by the federation. Hopefully, they’ll provide financial assistance to me so that I can improve my ranking.”

Meanwhile, another top player lamented the PSF and blamed it for the players’ poor ranking.

“It’s really embarrassing that our names are placed in the reserves now,” he said. “We used to be direct entrants before and the PSF is responsible for this situation. Our careers are being ruined by the federation as they are only focusing on one or two players.”

The players have also complained that the Asian championship team members, who won a gold medal for the country, were given Rs100,000, while the junior team that finished runners-up in the world championship, were given Rs300,000 each.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2012.