ISLAMABAD

Pakistan ruled the world of squash for more than four decades and this particular sport gave identity to Pakistan the world over, but now a days it is very hard to find natural talent at grassroots level, and when the Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) finally managed to spot out genuine talent, some hidden hands didn't let them work freely.

The PSF established squash courts at Liaquat Bagh Benazir Sports Complex with a purpose to encourage young kids to play squash and some big names were hired to train the new comers and beginners.

The project got tremendous response and soon it attracted around 200 kids both in male and female categories, but the floods in Rawalpindi that destroyed the entire complex, halted this finest project to hunt talent. After the renovation work, Pindi admin allowed a wushu club to work inside the complex and the club owners, who had the backing of some influential, occupied the main entrance and started practicing. They do not let anyone to cross through which irked squash players a lot and also created great problems for female players who find it really difficult to continue playing under these circumstances.

Now the total strength of the squash players hardly stands at around 15, with not a single female player coming to the courts. The situation is very alarming as there is already acute shortage of female players in this particular sport. With situations like this, the remaining players will also prefer to stay at their homes instead of coming here.

The sources within the complex said: “Despite several requests being made to District Sports Officer (DSO) Rawalpindi by the squash management, the DSO refused to help out and all the requests were fallen on deaf ears.

It is also learnt from reliable sources that the wushu club management pay a monthly rent of Rs 3,000 to district administration.

It is pertinent to mention here that there is wide space in the corridor, where the wushu players can easily practice and there is also a more than reasonable green area where they can continue their practice, but they are not ready to utilize available spaces and insists on blocking the main entrance of the squash complex and their activities gain momentum when the timings of squash students starts.

It is the national and moral duty of the DSO and other persons concerned to resolve this minor issue, as Pakistan is in dire need of producing squash players. Wushu is also a very healthy sporting activity, but the club management and students can cooperate and continue their activities in the corridor or at the green belt inside the Benazir Complex. The DSO should act in the best interest of the country and resolve this pity issue sooner rather than later.