ISLAMABAD-Former world number 14 and Pakistan’s one of the most decorated squash players of modern era Shahid Zaman Khan has offered his all-out help to Pakistan players who wanted to train in the USA.

Shahid, who was Pakistan No 1 player and remained national champion from 2001 to 2006, expressed these views while talking to The Nation from Boston, USA, where he is a running a world class squash academy and working with Boston’s oldest squash club ‘The Tennis and Racquet Club’.

“I always put Pakistan way ahead of my personal ambitions. I belong to a family, which had dominated Pakistan and world squash for decades and produced a number of world champions. My grandfather won the British Open, my uncle Qamar Zaman Khan was the world champion while my cousin Jahangir Khan is squash legend.”

Shahid said he came from a very poor background from the suburbs of Quetta. “My father helped a number of players from his personal pocket, and today whatever respect and status I have been enjoying is just because of the prayers of my parents and love of the people of my beloved country Pakistan.”

Shahid said: “I had trained very hard in hot and humid temperatures and for hours, unlike of the present day’s players, who simply ran away from training and want to become champions overnight, which is, in fact, not possible. To achieve glory and scale down peaks, one has to dig deep, train hard and instead of wasting time on mobiles, computers and night clubs or other useless things, one has to spend maximum time in the courts, gyms with great passion and hard work, as there is no short cut to success.”

Speaking about his achievements, Shahid said: “I had won eight PSA titles and remained runners-up in 15 PSA tournaments. I won the Asian Junior championship in 1999 and won the Asian Senior Individual Championship in 2001. I must consider myself highly unlucky not to move into the PSA top 10 players list, just because when I was world number 14, I started relaxing which cost me dearly. Now when I look back, I feel, I could have easily won the world titles, as I had beaten all the players of my era and that too with utmost ease and comfort. Had I trained a little bit hard, things could have been much different.”

He said he had stint as coach at PAF Academy and Infantry School in Quetta. “I also managed junior and senior development programmes in India, Malaysia, Pakistan and USA. I didn’t want to move abroad, but things were not in my favour and I was left with no other option, but to settle in the USA with my family. But believe me or not, I never ever forgot about Pakistan squash. Pakistan was and will remain always my top priority.

“I have bought a house in Boston and always ready to welcome Pakistani squash players just like I extended whole-hearted cooperation to world number 58 Farhan Zaman Khan, whom I not only gave residence but also provided free of cost coaching/training at ‘Tennis and Racquet Club’. I am also grateful to club owner and manager for his help without charging a single penny,” he added.

Shahid said there was a time when Farhan was very down and thinking about quitting squash, but he bucked him up and assured him he could reclaim top spot with hard work. “Farhan paid attention towards my advice and results are evident. Farhan is scaling down new heights and playing one of the best squash of all time. He not only won the PSA titles in USA, but also in Pakistan and presently, he is almost unbeatable at home soil.”

“My services are always available free of cost. If the PSF recommend some players to me, I am ready to take good care of them. I am presently working on USA No 1 and world No 7 Amanda Sobhy. She is the first No 1 girl in American squash history who reach the final of super series in Tournament of Champions in New York, while her sister Sabrina Sobhy is also training with me,” he added.

When asked about if the PSF offers him coaching, Shahid said: “It depends. Presently, I am settled in USA and can help the PSF while staying here, but my heart is in Pakistan and my parents are also there. If a reasonable offer comes, I can consider, but my doors and heart is always open for Pakistanis as they can take benefit from my huge experience and achieve what they desire to earn at international level.”