ISLAMABAD             -           Pakistani juniors got off to flying start in the first round of the British Junior Open Squash Championship 2019, as three Pakistani youngsters registered convincing victories in the U-13, U-17 and U-19 categories respectively in Birmingham on Thursday.

Pakistan junior team manager Hussain Odhwani from Birmingham informed The Nation that in U-13 category, Pakistan’s main title hope Abdullah Nawaz has to dig deep to beat USA’s Christian Capella 3-1. Abdullah won the first game 12-10, took the second 13-11 but lost the third 8-11 before winning the fourth 12-10 to move into the second round. In U-17 category, Waleed Khalil was playing against England’s Harvey Mcintyre, who was top favorite of home crowd. But Waleed never looked in any trouble and played his natural game to take the first game 11-3, second 11-2 and grabbed the third 11-2 to book place in the second round.

In U-19 category, Pakistan’s major title hope Hamza Shareef was playing against Czech Republic’s Lubos Walter. The first game started well as both were trying to dominate each other but Lubos settled well and took a healthy 4-1 lead, but after slow start, Hamza bounced back and first levelled the score at 4-all and then was leading 9-4, before Lubos fought back and took two more points to make it 9-6, but it was all that Lubos could take form the first game, which Hamza won 11-6 in 5 minutes.

In the second game, Hamza was playing smooth squash and never looked in any trouble as he won the second game 11-6 and also won the third 11-6 to book berth in the second round. In U-15 category, Pakistan’s Muhammad Ammad defeated Oliver Coulcher (Eng) 11-3, 12-10, 11-2. The second round matches will start on late Thursday night, while Pakistani players will also be in action in the late hours of Thursday, Hussian said.