Pakistan Air Force academy backbone of squash in Pakistan: Atlas Khan

PESHAWAR, Oct 02 (APP):Head Coach of the Pakistan Air Force Squash Academy Peshawar Atlas Khan has said that he was optimistic about Peshawar-based junior players’ future because they have already been creating waves in world of squash in junior events.

Elder brother of squash wizard Jansher Khan, Atlas Khan said that the academy has around 30 plus kids in different age groups from Under-11, Under-13, Under-15, U-17 categories, who are enjoying free training at one of the world’s best available squash courts.

“I must give credit to PAF and without any doubt it is the backbone of squash in Pakistan, which is doing great job.

PAF is taking good care of Pakistan squash future players and also providing them with free coaching, rackets, balls, squash bags, gears and also prepared six courts at Hashim Khan Squash Complex available to the youngsters free of cost, equipped with latest facilities such as air conditioned, trainers and free coaches, who are imparting training to these kids on daily basis for around four hours.”

Atlas Khan said that every proper and best facility is being provided to the kids, which include diet list, fitness training, physical training and squash training with free supplements, juices and fruits to keep them fit and strong.

“Without PAF support and huge resources, the federation cannot even think about gathering such huge amount of youngsters, who train according to modern day needs. We have four players in each age group and five in U-13 age group.

“We have some very skilful juniors at the academy, who if properly trained, provided with facilities and international exposure, they are bound to become champions in their respective age groups and win major PSA titles for the country,” he added.

“Our youngsters including Saif Ullah, Saki Ullah, Abudllah Nawaz, Humam Ahmed, Ammad, Hamza, Noor Zaman, Muhammad Hanif, Mutahir Ali, Yasin Khattak, Asad Ullah, Noor Zaman, Hamza Khan, Huzaifa Zahid, Abbas Nawaz, Hammad etc. have potential but they just lack mental toughness. PAF Group Captain Irfan Asghar has been taking keen interest in squash promotion and regularly visiting the Academy along with Vice President PSF Qamar Zaman.

Atlas Khan, gold medalist of the World Team Championship in Otto, Canada and elder brother of former World Squash Champion Jansher Khan, said that for achieving lost glory focus would be given to establish modern squash academies across Pakistan. He said that for achieving the lost glory we have to work more hard instead of concentrating just on time passing.

The players should have to go through four-hour daily practice session alongside physical training on  modern line and both Zeeshan and Shahbaz as physical trainers are doing morning physical training which would help players to face toughest future challenges in the world of squash.

The finalist of the British Open and Paris Open and remained coach of the Bahrain and Japan national teams, Atlas Khan, who succeeded along with other coaches including Nazir Khan, Maqsood Hanif, Safeer Khan, Riaz Khan, Gulab Sher, Kamran Khan in bringing PAF Squash Academy Peshawar as leading one and the players are doing good results at both national and international levels.

Atlas Khan underlined the need for adopting training and coaching on modern line instead of just time passing, he said, adding, “We have to focus more in the right direction by putting all the upcoming players into courts for four-hour training and physical training under qualified trainers. ”

Father of former World No. 14 and Ex-Asian Champion Aamir Atlas, Pakistan No. 1 Danish Atlas, Ex-National Junior Champion Naveed Atlas and currently China National Coach Khalid Atlas, said he has changed the affairs of Academy into modern lines by ensure equal times to the players rather putting only their name plates on squash courts in PAF Hashim Khan Squash Complex.

“We have changed the old perception and trend earlier precedent of just hanging names plates on courts rather concentrating on player’s training under the supervision of qualified trainers,” he remarked. It is good that Jansher Khan is coming to the Academy every day and witnessed the youngsters while practicing, he disclosed.

Honored with President Pride of Performance Atlas Khan lauded President (PSF) Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, Chief of the Air Staff Pakistan Air Force, for bringing international squash to Pakistan. He said with bringing international squash events in Pakistan would help increasing international ranking of the players besides providing them a chance to play side-by-side with top players of the world on home courts.

Finalists of British Amateur and Paris Open, Atlas Khan also coached his younger brother Jansher Khan for 15-years who won eight times World Championship, six times British Open and remained No. 1 for 10-years, disclosed that earlier the players comprising Qamar Zaman, Jehangir Khan and Jansher Khan were hard workers but now the players are reluctant of hard working.

“Without hard working no player can achieve name and fame at the world level,” he said, adding “Competition are now changed into more challenging because of introduction of modern day facilities both physically and during practice,” he said.

“I have decided to work with the PSF for the promotion of the squash in which the country once ruled the world and assisting PSF to work for the betterment of the game,” said Atlas Khan. “I have tailored a plan with the PSF according to which the game will be promoted from the grass-root level,” he said.

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