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November 8, 2018
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Saifullah claims he has support of all units

Sports

November 8, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: As elections to the key posts of the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) are set for November 24, four provincial associations and Islamabad announced their support for the sitting President Salim Saifullah Khan.

In a media talk here at the PTF Complex on Wednesday, Saifullah confirmed getting support from almost the entire units to continue as PTF chief for second term in office. “Let me share with you the support I have been assured by all the units. Four provincial associations and Islamabad have already seconded my nomination to continue as the PTF president.

“Almost all other departments have also shown their support for me. I am really obliged to all for showing trust in my abilities. I will continue to serve the game as I did during the last four years,” he said.

So far no other candidate or group has come forward for PTF key posts.Saifullah, who was also accompanied by PTF Senior Vice President Khawar Hayat, Senior Executive Iftikhar Rasheed, secretary Abu Akif, Saeed Khan (SVP PTF) and Col (r) Gul Rehman (Administrator PTF Complex), boosted his latest venture and that is the high quality Plexipave cushion synthetic courts at the PTF Complex.

“The work is almost completed at the five new courts. These synthetic courts are as good as you can find that at the US Open or Australian Open. Almost 80 per cent of international events these days are played at such courts. We play almost all our Davis Cup events abroad on these surfaces,” Saifullah said.

Talking about the cost, he said he succeeded in getting special deal from the USA based firm courtesy to the ITF support. “It costs us just over Rs20 million. This also includes $50,000 the federation received as a grant from the ITF. The firm has given us 10 years warranty. We expect the courts to last even longer.”

Saifullah admitted that there was a need to improve overall physical standard of players. “Now when tennis players in Pakistan have access to quality courts, there is a need to improve their physical standard. For that we have decided to hire services of Turkish based tennis trainer Faruk. He is a qualified coach and masters in tennis training. We are in negotiation with him and hopefully he would be hired in near future.”

The PTF president called on the government to help top federations including tennis in a big way. “I expect from Prime Minister Imran Khan, who himself was one of the top cricketers in the world, to invest in sports. We need government backing like the way other countries in Asia — Bangladesh, Japan, India, Thailand and China (all these countries’ tennis federations get over two million dollars annually from the government). Mere Rs3 million which we receive are just peanuts.”

He said there was a need to look into genuine concerns of federations while finalising draft for the sports promotion. “Task force formed under Ehsan Mani must look into the genuine demands and concerns of federations.”

Saifullah revealed that the Nigerian federation was keen to send their top players and teams to train in Pakistan. “They have expressed their desire to get tennis training in Pakistan.”He also backed the idea of establishing a sports university in Islamabad.

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