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April 8, 2020

Covid-19 stretches Nasir’s ‘ban’ even further

Sports

April 8, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Out of the frying pan into the fire, this turned out to be Pakistan squash player Nasir Iqbal’s fate, who had waited all these four years for the international ban to be over. When the ban officially got over on February 28, Covid-19 took over cancelling or postponing all the major international events, stretching Nasir’s wait even further.

Whatever time and smaller events he found in early March, he rapidly improved his ranking from outside six hundred to around 250. What he wanted and had been training for to see his name among the top 20 within a year time after restart of action.

“I did not trained and practiced as hard during my ban-free time as I have been doing during the past two years. I knew well that I have to stay extremely fit to make an automatic entry into the leading players’ cadre. Keeping that thing in mind I kept on working hard on my fitness and was ready to take that hard work into the major international events when virus took over,” Nasir Iqbal said in his talk with ‘The News’.

The top Pakistan player and South Asian gold medalist who tamed Indian word No 13 Saurav Ghosal to land the crown is believed to have fallen victim to South Asian squash politics. He was banned for four years by WADA after testing positive by Indian laboratories for using performance enhancing drugs. Another player of less mental toughness could have hanged his racket there and then, realizing that a four-year ban is too much to wait for. Nasir thought otherwise and continued his efforts to emerge better and fitter than he was before.

“I am a strong believer and never lost hope on my ability and my passion. I continued working on my fitness putting in some extra efforts which the best of the squash players do these days.”Just days before the expiry of his four-year ban, he returned from USA where he had gone to train under one of the leading fitness trainers in Dallas.