ISLAMABAD: Ibrahim Elkabanni of Egypt will lead a pack of 14 foreign players in the $12,000 Serena Hotels CAS-International Squash Championship for men that springs into action from tomorrow (Thursday) at the Mushaf Ali Mir Complex.
The men’s and $6,000 women’s CAS Open will see 23 international players trying their luck to earn cash as well as important international senior circuit points. The men’s draw is missing reigning world junior champion Hamza Khan who has yet to return from the UK where he was busy playing the circuit.
“Hamza still has one more senior circuit event to play in the UK and is also nursing some injury. Noor Zaman will be back for the CAS Open and so are others,” Air Cdr (r) Aamir Nawaz, secretary Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) said at a media talk at Serena Hotels Tuesday.
Unseeded Nasir Iqbal who is to confront Malaysian Hafiz Zhafri on the opening day will be the main hope for Pakistan. “Nasir looks good at the moment but you cannot predict as all those international players are turning up or if the events are as good,” the secretary PSF said.
Aamir Nawaz confirmed that players from four foreign countries are participating in the men and women categories. “Malaysia, Egypt, Spain and Hong Kong players will be seen in action,” he said.
In men’s event, World No 64 Ibrahim Elkabani from Egypt is seed No 1 along with World No 72 Muhammad Asim Khan from Pakistan as seed No 2. In total, there are 10 Pakistanis and 14 foreign players competing. In the women’s event, world No 77 Chan Yiwen from Malaysia is No 1 seed along with World No 114 Nour Khafagy (Egypt) as seed No 2.
“We must acknowledge that the PAF under the patronage of Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmed Babar Sidhu has been extending tremendous support to the Pakistan Squash Federation for the game’s promotion in the country. We are hopeful for bringing the lost glories back to the country, which we have enjoyed for many years in the past.
On the other hand, besides government’s support, we also expect the corporate sector to come forward by extending financial support for raising the soft image of Pakistan around the world by organising major sports activities in Pakistan. With their support, InshaAllah Pakistan will regain the top slot in the world of sports and we would very soon be seeing Pakistan’s flag fluttering high in the world of sports again,” secretary PSF said.
Aamir Nawaz revealed that Pakistan also planning to host the 31st Asian Junior Individual Championships in June/July 2024. Representing the sponsors, Serena Hotels’ Hina Nazir said Serena Hotels under the initiative of Sports Diplomacy has always been committed to revitalizing and restoring the glory that squash once brought to our nation.
“Serena Hotels aims to act as a bridge, encouraging a revived enthusiasm and deepened appreciation for this esteemed game and to ensure that squash not only regains its position as a treasured sporting legacy but also continues to inspire future talent.” The prize money for the men’s category winner is $1805 and $1140 for the runner-up, while the prize money for the women’s event is $902 for the winner and $570 for the runner-up.
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