ISLAMABAD - Former Asian Senior Individual squash champion Aamir Atlas Khan has vowed that he is fully fit and ready to stage a strong comeback at national and international level.

Talking to The Nation, Aamir, who is also former world number 14, said: “I am getting ready for the Rs 1 million DG Rangers Squash Championship to be held in Karachi next month. I would have loved to play in the $50k Pakistan Open, but due to seeding system, I couldn’t get a berth in this event. I had played in the national tournament in Wah and lost in the semi-finals against the top seed. I am reaching back to my same old days’ fitness levels gradually.”

Aamir said the Professional Squash Association (PSA) will hopefully abolish the new system, they have introduced on temporary basis. “The new system has eliminated the qualification rounds and only seeded players were allowed to play top prize tournaments, which has deprived a number of players, as they lost the opportunity of playing qualification rounds, in which a number of upsets were witnessed. But now the PSA looks all set to change the new format in January, as I feel a number of players were badly affected by the new rules.”

He said he had promised himself not to miss a single event in next calendar year. “I had suffered a lot while I was away from professional squash, but it was more to do with the step-motherly treatment, I had to face like others at the hands of the federation. But now I am committed to take a fresh start again, as the federation looks keen to promote players like me, who are proven stuff and had helped the country win international titles on countless times.”

He said Pakistan squash badly needs experienced campaigners to start winning mega titles once again. “The seniors like Farhan Mehboob, Farhan Zaman, Danish Atlas, me and Nasir Iqbal, who has been serving ban which is near to completion, can still help the country win major titles once again. We can also help juniors in guiding and training for the mega events, so that they may also excel at higher level.

“I have gained a lot of weight, but now I have been working very hard with my father Atlas Khan, who helped me a lot in not only reducing the weight but also helped me getting back into the rhythm. My brother Khaild Atlas also helped me in learning modern training methods to reduce the weight,” he added.  Aamir said that it is good step of PSF to host the PSA events in Pakistan, which is helping the local players a lot in improving their international rankings and also learning a lot while playing against the best in the business. The federation can’t afford to send all the players abroad for PSA events, so it’s a good idea to host PSA events in Pakistan.

“The appointments of coaches in Peshawar and other major cities of the country have also helped in getting fresh talent. A few youngsters are very good and can be future of Pakistan squash. But for the time being, the PSF needs the seasoned campaigners like us, who had served Pakistan squash for decades and are capable enough to win international laurels for the country once again,” Aamir concluded.