ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) finally started the much-awaited training camp for the players for preparations of Asian Senior Team Squash Championship and other high-profile events at Hashim Khan Squash Complex, Peshawar.

Players were given assurances of providing over the moon facilities during the camp by the PSF secretary Group Captain Amir Nawaz, but the reality is very harsh for the players, who traveled all the way from Punjab despite strong reservations from their parents regarding law and order situation of Peshawar, as they were given stay at Sergeants Mess, very ordinary place with no proper food or other facility available.

The players are given very ordinary breakfast instead of much-needed proteins required after going through tough physical and mental training. The players have to travel on foot for half an hour to reach Qayyum Stadium for training and then after completing it, they again travel on foot to reach Hashim Khan Courts.

Only two players Syed Ali Mujtaba Bukhari and Ammad Fareed are training in both sessions, while Aamir Atlas Khan turns up only in the evening session. Danish has only once attended the camp while Bilal Zakir, Waqas Mehboob, Farhan Mehboob, Nosherwan Khan are the notable absentees. The told this scribe that they were given high assurances regarding training camp, but they were facing a number of hardships. “We have spent Rs 3500 from our own pockets on evening meals, as the meal provided in the mess is by no means eatable. We go on foot to the market to eat food and if our parents get information about this attitude and treatment being lent to us, they would not waste any time but call us back.”

“We want to represent Pakistan in international events to win laurels for the country but how is it possible to even think about maintaining physical and mental fitness by eating substandard food. There are a lot of difficulties we are facing. We have talked to secretary Amir Nawaz who promised us that the situation would improve soon, but where is that Rs 4.2 million amount, which was promised to be spent on training and providing excellent facilities.”

When this scribe contacted PSF secretary Amir Nawaz and wanted to draw his attention towards the sorry state of affairs of training camp, he said: “I will visit Peshawar in a day or two and check myself the whole situation and will try to address players concerns. We are well short of funds and as soon as we get funds, the situation will improve and we will provide all the facilities to the players we have promised to them.”

Tayyab Aslam had joined camp on Monday, while three unknown players had trained in the camp in the absence of players who were supposed to be there. The camp was established with a purpose to bring players in shape for the prestigious events but if the players are not willing to attend the camp or using delaying tactics, then there is no need of setting up camps and that too at the out of date courts of Hashim Khan Complex. The camp should have been established at Mushaf Ali Mir Squash Complex in Islamabad, the one and only international standard court available.

The players need to train at the well-equipped modern courts, as they have to play in Korean courts, which are equipped with latest glass walls. It makes no sense of arranging training camps against the will of the players at a place which is by no means safe due to prevailing law and order situation.

The federation must shift camp to Islamabad without wasting any time as it will help them in preparing well for the mega events.