ISLAMABAD - Pakistan No 1 junior squash player Tayyab Aslam has vowed to finish the last year of his junior career on a high note.

Tayyab will represent Pakistan in the World Junior Individual Squash Championship starting from July 25 in Netherlands along with four other players and is currently being trained at Mushaf Mir Squash Complex under Faheem Gul.

Talking to The Nation, Tayyab said: “It is my last year in juniors and world junior will be the last high-profile event in which I will take part as a junior player. I had promised last year, I would fight till the end and tried to win Asian Junior Individual Squash Championship. I fulfilled my promise by winning the event. Last time Syed Ali Mujtaba Bokahri won the junior title, but he decided not to defend the title so the responsibility was on my shoulders.

“Same is the case in the world juniors as I know the country’s hopes will heavily rest on my shoulders to win the title, which was last won by the legend Jansher Khan almost three decades and since none of Pakistanis managed to repeat that feat. I would play out my heart and try to win the title for my country and it will be perfect gift of my birthday, as soon after world juniors, I will celebrate my 19th birthday,” he added.

When asked about his injury that he was carrying from the final in France, Tayab replied: “I got injured while playing the PSA final, I went to doctor who advised me two-week rest. Soon after return to my country, Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) announced trials for selection of five members for the world juniors. I went to Dr Waqar at Pakistan Sports Complex who also advised me to take rest. I presented my medical report to the federation and they very kindly allowed me to get recover. They sent my entry to world juniors subject to winning my matches against Asim, Israr, Abbas Shoukat, Ahsan and Zeeshan. They didn’t exempt me from trials rather only gave me time to recover and heel my injury.”

To a query regarding exemption from trails, Tayyab said: “The PSF has its rules and regulations and they follow it. I know I can beat any given player, so I am relaxed and completely focused on my training. I have trained in Lahore upon my arrival from France and now I am training in the national camp at Islamabad. We start training at 11pm which continues till 2am. Nasir Iqbal and Farhan Zaman are helping us a lot being senior players and playing against them definitely raises the standard of our games and will help us a great deal in the world juniors.”

“I am enjoying training and working hard on my fitness level. We focus both on physical and mental toughness and spend lot of time in gym as well. We know it will be an individual event and everyone has to play for oneself, but we also realise one of us has to deliver for the country. It was a very long and hard wait of more than 30 years for squash lovers, and this will be last opportunity for me and Asim Khan to sign off on a high note. I am quite confident, we will not disappoint the nation and return with our heads high,” Tayyab concluded.