Pakistan International Squash Tournament organized by Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) has kicked off today at Mushaf Ali Mir Complex in Islamabad.
Leading players will be back in action and keen to make a mark in the $12,000 worth event that will go on for five days.
Tayyab is currently ranked number one in the country and is hot favorite to win the title. Confident of his position, the 24-year-old is optimistic to do well in the tournament.
“Being Pakistan number one, I would definitely go all out to win the title. My form is also backing me so hopefully I would play my best squash here,” Tayyab said.
About eight top players have been awarded a bye in the first round of the tournament which means they don’t have to participate in this round and have a free-pass to the next one. Tayyab, Asem Khan, Farhan Mehboob, Ammad Fareed, Farhan Zaman, Danish Atlas Khan, Zahir Shah and Israr Ahmad are the listed players for the first-round bye.
Nasir, however, will be playing his first major event after his four-year ban for testing positive for banned drugs at the 12th South Asian Games.
“I am in the best of shape and hopefully would go on to perform well in the tournament,” he said.
The 26-year-old added that he had been looking for such an opportunity for a while now and was very grateful. “Here at the Mushaf Complex, the conditions are ideal and competing against the best would help me in knowing my form and fitness,” he said.
Nasir had lost to Tayyab in Quetta earlier and blamed it on lack of preparation on the particular court.
The Bannu-born player will play his opening match against the wildcard holder Hamza Sharif in the first round on Monday. “I am looking forward to every match here. This is sort of preparation for even bigger events to come,” he said.
Madina Zafar talks about challenges players are facing due to covid-19,
International squash player Madina Zafar says due to covid-19 players have to face many difficulties. “Some departments have stopped paying attention to players, leading them to face many physical and financial challenges,” the young athlete said.
Madina, 22, said that like all other fields, sports too suffered a great deal in last 8 months due to the pandemic. Departments’ disregard to its players has led them to face many difficulties. They have stopped supporting the players as there are no sport activities taking place.
“Players are not only financially struggling but also having a hard time staying fit as lack of training has affected their fitness and they are now unable to play well in tournaments,” she said.
However, Madina appreciated the support she got from her department, Pakistan Army, during covid-19. She had access to all facilities and was therefore, completely fit; leading her to perform well in the recent squash event.
Second seed in the tournament, Madina had defeated the top seed Amna Fayyaz last week in Lahore to win the Professional Squash Association (PSA) ranking tournament.
Madina believes that squash is a sport that can be easily played in these corona times. “It only requires some safety precautions as it doesn’t involve court contact,” she said.
Players can avoid shaking hands, wear masks and wash hands. Because there is no court contact, is the reason why PSA is holding the event in first place,” she added.
Madina is currently ranked at 75 on PSA squash rankings and aims to make a place in top 50, now that the events have resumed. “I am confident that as PSA increase holding more events, I’ll be able to achieve my target. I also hope to win medals for my country in upcoming Commonwealth games and Asia games,” the international star concluded.