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February 15, 2018

PSA should respond to Pakistan squash requirements


February 15, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s efforts to earning the rights to host lower-prize money events are not getting positive response from the Professional Squash Association (PSA) that seems more interested in making the circuit attractive for top foreign players rather than helping budding locals to make up for the lost time.

The News has learnt from well-placed sources that continuous efforts on the part of Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) over the last six months to get due share for the local players has received cold response. Either the PSA has failed so far to realize the gravity of situation or is not interested in helping Pakistan improve worrying standard of squash in the country. Over the years, absence of top level international squash from Pakistan has left its bad impacts on the local game.

Though the law and order situation has drastically improved over the years, enabling PSF organize from $ 10 thousand to $ 50 thousand PSA events, the professional body seems reluctant to extend the much deserved helping hand to Pakistan to make up for the loss it suffered.

Pakistan has enviously rich traditions of squash as the country dominated the international stage for almost 40 years before the 9/11 episode pulled the strings down. It is not in squash alone that Pakistan suffered, the impacts of Afghanistan war are very much visible on all sports played across Pakistan with cricket being one of worst hit sports. Unlike PSA, the cricket governing body ICC came all out to Pakistan help by establishing a Task Force which slowly and surely ensured the return of international events. Squash lovers in Pakistan also expect the same patronage role from the PSA and World Squash Federation (WSF). Sadly that role does not seem to be coming from these two bodies. Instead in majority of cases PSA has shown no interest or a degree of urgency to help Pakistan out. What squash in the country needs at this time is holding of continuous ranking events for prize money of $ 10000 to $ 25 thousand, enabling Pakistan’s emerging players improve their game and ranking and at the same time to get the required sponsorship to host such events. Unless and until there is a local interest involved, sponsors stay away from backing and supporting that particular event.

The national interest is must to lure sponsors. Pakistan squash is in a rebuilding phase and needs vital support and backing of international bodies as well as from former international players. Possibly no one knows the importance of Pakistan role in building the image of squash than current Chief Executive Officer of PSA Alex Gough.

The former world No 5 who played alongside great Jansher and Jahangir Khan must be

aware of the role played by the two legends in popularizing the game around the world. The time is now ripe for the PSA and WSF to pay back and help streamline the game revival and development in Pakistan.

What The News has learnt is in sharp contrast to what Pakistan deserves from these international bodies. Despite repeated request, Pakistan is not getting its due or deserved share of international circuit events. Almost all the professional Pakistan players are ranked outside 60 so to organize big prize money events means keeping your players out and working for the development of those who already are scooping up a big chunk of prize money around the world. It is only the lesser prize money events that today is the requirement of country’s squash. What Pakistan needs and deserves is a breathing space following years of drought of international activities. The former world team and individual champions not only have justified claim on hosting such events but also except and deserve a far better treatment from PSA to cherish rebuilding efforts.

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