ISLAMABAD - Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) Sports Committee honoured Asian squash individual champion Aamir Atlas Khan and squash team head coach Jamshed Gul Khan in an impressive ceremony organised here at chamber premises on Saturday.

ICCI sports committee members Nasir Mehmood Chaudhry, Akhunzada Faheem, M Naveed Malik, Nisar Mirza, Ashfaq Chatha and others were also present on the occasion.

Speaking at the occasion, ICCI sports committee chairman Saeed Ahmed Bhatti said: “It is a great honour for us that true ambassador like Aamir grace the occasion and accepted our invitation. We are happy to welcome and honour our sporting icon who has made the country proud by lifting the prestigious title after a gap of 15 years.”

ICCI president Zafar Bakhtawari assured Aamir of chamber’s all-out support in helping him achieving his future goals. Zafar promised the squash ace that he would not only talk with PSF president but also use his good offices to generate funds for favourite sons of soil and help them participating in the PSA events, so they can win laurels for the country.

“Pakistani nation is in dire need of mending their differences and only sports can bind this nation together, as they shun their differences whenever Afridi hits a six, or any other sporting icon win laurels for the country,” he added.

He also promised to establish a joint committee consists of five members each from Rawalpindi Islamabad Sports Journalists Association (RISJA) and the ICCI, who would submit their recommendations and upon their recommendations, the chamber would lend a helping hand to the sports persons of twin cities. “As a business community, it is our national and moral duty to take good care of deserving athletes both male and female,” the ICCI sports body president added.

Jamshed Gul thanked the ICCI-RISJA for honouring them and assured that not only Aamir but also other talented players, who can beat any top player of the world, would earn laurels for the country. “We need sufficient funds to achieve this goal so I request the ICCI to assist the PSF in generating funds from private sector. If the ICCI succeeds in doing so, we promise not one but three or four Pakistani players will break into world's top 20 in a short span of time,” he said.

“Our players have potential to excel at international stage but what they lack is international exposure. If they participate in 10 to 12 PSA events in a calendar year, they have capability to help the country regain past glories in squash,” Jamshed added.

Aamir thanked ICCI/RISJA and said: “The only thing which a sportsman needs is appreciation, whenever our work is admired and it puts a new life in us. I have beaten top players of the world in the past and I can beat them at any given stage or time. Ranking means nothing and if the PSF provides me with maximum number of PSA events, I will bounce back and break into top 10.”

“The federation has to invest if they really want to produce a champion. The PSF chief should use his good offices to generate funds both from government and private sectors. This is the time when he should take up this case at the highest level. We have ruled the world for more than 40 years and we can do the same as we have some quality players but what we really need are proper facilities and international exposure,” he added.

Aamir also praised Jamshed Gul's contributions in helping the country winning laurels and that too in a very short span of time and hoped he would continue helping the country and its players to give medal winning performances and earn laurels for the country.