ISLAMABAD         -          Pakistani squash contingent, including U-15 champion Hamza Khan, landed at Islamabad International Airport and received rousing welcome from fans and the officials of Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) here on Wednesday morning.

Pakistan junior squash squad has returned home after conclusion of the British Junior Squash Championship 2020 in Birmingham. Total nine players, managers Air Commodore (R) Aftab Saddiq Qureshi and Hussain Odhwani and coach Asif Khan were received at the airport with flowers and drum beats. Then they were taken to Mushaf Squash Complex for a reception, hosted by the PSF in their honour, which was also attended by a numbers of sports journalists.

Addressing the sports journalists, Air Commodore (R) Aftab, who is also the Director of Pakistan National Squash Academy (PNSA), said: “Our boys did a remarkable job in the event. Hamza won the U-15 title, while Haris Qasim, Noor Zaman, Ammad and Abdullah Nawaz won the hearts of the squash world with their magical performances. We had just taken nine players, as three players were not issued visas for the event, however, our boys performed well against the international opponents. We were expecting gold medals from Noor, Hamza and Abdullah, but Noor and Abdullah could not deliver in the final stage.”

Aftab further said: “Parents bear expenditures of players, but here it is the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), who is bearing all the expenses of players, trainers and coaches. It is unfortunate that only cricket is getting sponsors in the country. We do not say that sponsors should not help cricket but at least, they should also help squash and other neglected games. It is just the beginning, as everyone will see our players rising to the big stage and winning major titles in near future.”

Sharing his views, Hamza thanked the PSF, PAF, coaches and his fans for helping him in the journey. He said: “I was confident that I will not disappoint the nation. After winning the title, I hope Prime Minister Imran Khan and IPC Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza will invite us and announce incentives and special grant for the federation, so that we could focus on our training and participate in the PSA events.”

Sharing his views, outgoing Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Secretary Akbar Hussain Durrnai, who was posted to Information Ministry, promised that the government will do whatever they can to help the PSF. “We are proud of our boys, who have given the country something big to cheer about. I will request the IPC Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza to take up the case with PM Imran Khan and manage to get big for the federation and players.”