KARACHI: The Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) has decided to prepare a girls’ team alongside the boys’ squad for the upcoming Asian Junior Championship scheduled to be held in February at Seoul, Korea.
The past few years have witnessed only the junior males’ team participating in major events for Pakistan, but now the federation has decided to groom girls as well so that they may fight for honours in the years to come.
The PSF is determined to produce more female squash players like Pakistan’s number one Maria Toor Pakay to represent their country, in international events.
“We want to promote girl’s squash in Pakistan and have decided to form a team for the upcoming Asian Junior Championship,” national head coach Jamshed Gul told The Express Tribune. “There are some talented young players like Sadia Gul and Samar Anjum while rest of the lot are not much behind in terms of competence.”
The official revealed that the team will be selected after few days’ trials in Islamabad, starting from January 11. The players will pit their strength against each other to fight for one of the final four slots. The boys will follow a similar format to take part in the event as Danish Atlas Khan, Hamzah Bokhari and Nasir Iqbal are unlikely to be selected in the junior team.
Gul believes that given the right opportunities, girls can take squash to new heights at national level. He was confident that Pakistan will soon boast players of Maria’s calibre or possibly even better.
“The idea is to groom youngsters for three to four years so they can do well when they turn 20 or 21 in the Women’s International Squash Players Association (WISPA) tournaments. There is no reason why our girls cannot be as good as Maria, or even better than her with proper training programmes in coming years.”
He added that the PSF is looking to work with senior girls as well and has gained sponsorships to hold national tournaments from this year. He further said the federation wants to hold international tournaments in Pakistan with top players around the world visiting the country.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 2nd, 2013.