ISLAMABAD, Jul 26 (APP):An eight-member Pakistan squad departed for Malaysia on late Thursday to participate in the World Junior Individual Squash Championship 2019.
The topflight event is scheduled to be held at Kuala Lumpur’s National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil from July 30 to August 4.
Pakistan squad is comprised of six players, Haris Qasim, Hamza Sharif, Mohammad Farhan Hashmi, Noor Zaman, Mohammad Hamza Khan and Naveed Rehman and two officials – Secretary Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) Group Captain Tahir Sultan (manger) and Asif Khan (coach).
“It’s a very big tournament wherein stiff contests are expected. Hence, it’ll be unrealistic if we say that our players will make it to the final,” Director Academies PSF, Air Commodore (Retd) Aftab Ahmad Qureshi told APP on Friday.
Top squash players from around the world will be seen in action at the championship where defending champion World No. 29 Mostafa Asal of Egypt will be defending his title. The 18-year-old from Cairo is firm favourite to retain the title. The second seed at the event is Omar El Torkey, who is also 18 and from Cairo. Czech Viktor Byrtus is the highest non-Egyptian seed sharing the men’s 3/4 seeding with Egypt’s Mostafa El Serty.
“Asal is the top seed player in the championship. But other Egyptians are also top class players. Similarly, other nations are also fielding their best lot in it. But I believe at least our two players – Haris Qasim and Hamza Sharif are capable of making it to the last four stage if they play with their full potential,” Aftab said.
But Aftab also believed that it would be a tough journey for Hamza Sharif, who had been pitted against Canada’s Sayeed Mavani in the first round draw. “If he wins the first round then he will be facing Torkey in the second round. But if he plays with his full potential he can spring a surprise.”
He said that it would be a great achievement if any one of Pakistan players advance to the semifinals. “I believe that if they reach to the quarterfinals even then it will be big result.”
According to Aftab the players had undergone rigorous training at National Squash Academy, Islamabad. “Our Academy remains operational throughout the year. We’ve done what we could for them. Now let us hope for the best.”
He said that the federation was trying its best to give maximum exposure to young players and that was why instead of sending just two players six players had been sent for the championship.