KARACHI: Pakistan coach Jamshed Gul lamented missing the opportunity to grab a medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games currently being staged in Glasgow, Scotland.
Infighting between the two rival factions of the Pakistan Olympic Association prevented the squash federation from sending the players’ entries before the deadline.
India’s Saurav Ghoshal reached the semi-final stage at the Games but failed to progress, reinforcing Gul’s belief that Pakistani player Farhan Mehboob could have made the country proud had he been there due to his superiority in form when compared to Saurav.
“Mehboob probably has the best racquet skills in Asia, while very few players are of the same calibre or better than him in the world,” Gul told The Express Tribune.
“Saurav reaching the semi-finals says it all; had our Pakistani players been part of the mega event, they would’ve definitely won a medal for their country. Mehboob has been in excellent touch and his fitness is at its peak too. Nasir Iqbal is in good form as well.”
Mehboob’s role in Pakistan squash includes leading a young team to back-to-back Asian Team Championship wins.
Target set to Asian Games
Gul said that despite the wasted opportunity, he and the players had now turned their focus towards making a clean sweep at the Asian Games, which are scheduled to for September in Incheon, Korea.
He added that the Pakistan Squash Federation had also brought Asian champion Aamir Atlas Khan back to training as Aamir looks to regain fitness after injury.
“We’re working with him so that he can regain his fitness ahead of the Asian Games since his presence there is important,” said the coach.
“He, along with Mehboob, will give Pakistan a genuine chance of winning the gold medal and moreover, our team will be stronger with him in it.”
Gul, who has been the most successful Pakistani coach in recent years, also hoped that the female squash players would put on a good show in Korea.
He pointed out though that the likes of Samar Anjum and Riffat Khan needed to raise their game as Pakistan could not solely reply on star player Maria Toorpakai Wazir.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2014.
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