LAHORE    -     Ameer Mazari annexed the PLTA JTI Junior Tennis Championship trophy after beating spirited Haniya Minhas in the final played here at Punjab Tennis Academy, Bagh-e-Jinnah on Saturday.

In U-10 final, both the finalists displayed outstanding skills, techniques and fighting and after a tough fight, finally Ameer Mazari managed to beat Haniya Minhas in a tie-break 8-7 (7-5). Mazari started the game in the great fashion as he took a healthy lead right from the word go and then everyone was expecting that Mazari is going to win the final, Haniya made a tremendous comeback and level the score at 6-6.

Both the players then had equal chance to win the match but they managed to equalize the score at 7-7 and the match was then decided one tie-break which also proved to be nail-biting as both the players kept on giving tough time to each other and scoring for every single point. Mazari, with better stamina and experience, then managed to win the tie break 8-7 (7-5) to clinch the title. In the same category, talented Zohaib Afzal Malik succeeded in winning bronze medal.

The boys’ U-8 gold medal was won by Rahem Beryar while Mohsin Sheraz earned silver medal and Qasim Sheraz bronze. The girls’ U-8 title went to Fajar Fayyaz while Afaf Sulman claimed the silver medal. Taha Khan grabbed the gold medal in boys’ U-6 while Muhammad Rayyan bagged silver and Harris Imran Khan bronze medal. Zainah Abdullah won the gold medal in girls’ U-6 while Qirat Kashid earned silver and Daalia Sehgol bronze medal.

Director General Sports Punjab Adnan Arshad Aulakh graced the concluding ceremony as chief guest and distributed prizes, medals and certificates among the position holders in the presence of PLTA Secretary Rashid Malik, players and their families and tennis lovers. All the spectators enjoyed the thrilling final with great interest and highly lauded both the finalists for presenting highly powerful shots and fighting spirit.

Speaking on the occasion, chief guest Adnan Arshad Aulakh said: “PLTA Secretary Rashid Malik has been serving the game of tennis very professionally and we are hopeful that with his passion and determination, Malik will take tennis to new heights. We are working hard on grassroots level tennis, arranging talent hunt programs, because we have great talent in our country and if provided with best facilities, proper training, guidance and coaching, one day, these youngsters will start winning laurels for the country at international level.”

“By fully focusing on nurseries of different sports, we are keen to provide fresh and promising talent to the country. We want to take sports to new height and for this, we are focusing on promoting sports at school level, which once used to be sports nurseries and soon we will revive the same culture at school level once again,” he added.

PLTA Secretary and former Davis Cupper Rashid Malik (Tamgha-e-Imtiaz) told the media that they engaged more than 150 kids in this PLTA JTI Junior Tennis Camp and Championship with just one aim to promote tennis at grassroots level. “We have been running such JTI programs for many years and also promoting tennis at a great number of schools across Punjab. We are trying to produce future tennis stars and a number of schools have been highly cooperating with us in this great initiative.

“Last year, we conducted record number of tennis events under the banner of PLTA, and this year too, we have already held a great number of tournaments but still we are keen to hold maximum number of events in order to provide them maximum opportunities to tennis players. After this event, we are going to conduct national junior championship, where top national juniors will be seen in action. In fact, tennis is my life and I will continue to serve it till my last breathe,” Malik asserted.