Aqeel rues lack of financial support


April 16, 2010

KARACHI: Top-seed Aqeel Khan, Aisamul Haq Qureshi’s Davis Cup partner, is aiming to make his mark this Monday in the sixth Super Series Tennis Championship that started at the Beach View Club in Karachi yesterday.

“Even though it’s a small tournament, I’m taking part in it because I’ve progressed to where I am through these small tournaments that are held,” Khan told The Express Tribune. “Junior players can only register their participation through these matches.”

Hidden Talent

Khan feels that although there is upcoming talent in tennis, sponsorship remains an issue for many players. According to him, players usually do not have enough resources to travel abroad to participate in the international matches where players from Pakistan can get a chance to enter the globally recognised ATP rankings. “International matches are very important for tennis players. However, being in Pakistan makes it all the more difficult for us because there are no sponsors who can send us to foreign tours.

It seems all the multinational corporations in Pakistan only care about cricket.” Khan said the players who were participating in international matches either arrange their own finances or get sponsorships through their personal contacts. “It is not like we do not have any talent in Pakistan or we are out of players. I don’t feel that we are overlooked by the media, but the ones given coverage are those who can afford to go and play abroad.” Aisam is currently touring Italy and recently particpated in the Rai Open tennis Championship.

While Khan is currently trying to arrange a trip to India to play in the ITF Future Tennis Tournament that will begin in May.

Karachi

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COMMENTS (2)

Mahboob Khan | 11 years ago | Reply It is very difficult to win one national title (well, try winning one) but these tennis stars, Aqeel Khan and Sarah Mahboob, have completed centuries of tennis titles. In other countries such performers are thoroughly supported and sponsored to higher rung of tennis tournaments that are available in the ATP and WTA circuits. Unfortunately, Pakistan is perhaps the only country in the world where our Government does not give any priority to those who have performed on the national and international circuits. It appears that the Ministry of Sports and other sporting organizations under it, have no connection, have no relevance with sports and sportspersons and because of this pathetic attitude those who have performed suffer the most. If our best national players who have proven track record, are not sponsored, no parent will ever dare to enroll his/her child in tennis in future.
Mahboob Khan | 11 years ago | Reply I totally agree with Aqeel Khan who is our best men's player after Aisam (and Sarah Mahboob is our best women's player). These two are our tennis heroes. But as he pointed out this nation is only bothered about Cricket and to me over-emphasis on Cricket is killing Cricket as is evident from cricketing stories (indiscipline, etc.,) on daily basis. Look, Australia is the world champion in Cricket, yet Cricket is not the no. 1 sport there, Tennis is. Since the Australian Cricketers feel pressure/rivalry from other sports such as tennis, they are the best in the world in Cricket also! Aqeel Khan, and Sarah Mahboob, have generated as much press as any Cricketer would yet they are not sponsored by any multi-national, and this is the downfall of our tennis. If our number ones are crying for help and the help is not in sight, who will dare to encourage their children to take up tennis?
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