PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan inaugurated the newly constructed Qamar Zaman Squash Complex and Open Air Gym at the Qayyum Sports Complex here on Wednesday.
Squash legends Qamar Zaman, Jansher Khan, members of the provincial assembly Fazle Elahi and Malik Wajid Khan were also present on the occasion.
The construction work on the complex was started in February 2017 when Mahmood Khan was the minister for sports. It was completed at a cost of Rs119 million.
Besides the Qamar Zaman Squash Complex, the chief minister also inaugurated the Open Air Gym built at a cost of Rs2.2 million.
Covering an area of 3.5 kanal, the Squash Complex has four international standard squash courts and one for practice, with wooden floor and glass walls, hostel and a mini-gymnasium covering. The complex has capacity for 300 spectators and also has media boxes.
Qamar Zaman thanked the chief minister for the timely construction of the much-needed complex.
He said that the needs of the players would be met with the construction of the five squash courts at the Peshawar Sports Complex, also known as Qayyum Stadium, and two in the adjoining Nawa Killay to which Qamar Zaman, Jansher Khan, Mohibullah and the legendary Hashim Khan belong.
Talking to reporters, Mahmood Khan said the government had initiated plans to develop sports infrastructure across the province, including the newly merged districts.
He said steps were being taken to provide facilities to players at their doorsteps and involve youth from all the 35 districts in productive activities.
He said that steps have also been taken to promote sports facilities for women players in the regional headquarters of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Mahmood Khan said the Under-21 Games at tehsil, district and regional levels had already been kicked off in all 127 tehsils in which more than 2,600 athletes would take part in in 32 games meant for men and 27 for women.
Earlier, while talking to The News, squash legends Qamar Zaman and Jansher Khan said they were not hopeful about the future of squash in the country.
“We have no other option but to focus on players in the under-11, 13, 15 and under-17 categories,” Qamar Zaman said.
He added that there was no chance of the existing senior players making any impression at the international level and, therefore, the focus must be on young players.
Qamar Zaman said the government should make every effort to introduce squash at the district level. “When at least 10,000 players in the districts play the game, then we can have the chance to produce world champions,” he argued.
Jansher Khan said that even young players were not committed enough to make progress and win laurels in squash. “Squash is a very challenging game and requires hard work and commitment, but the players nowadays are unwilling to do hard work,” he added.