ISLAMABAD: While expressing best wishes for his compatriots participating in the 18th Asian Individual Squash Championship next month, Pakistan’s top player Aamir Atlas Khan regrets missing the event due to what he describes the cold shoulder given to him by the national federation.
Aamir, the defending champion of the Asian Individual Championship, who due to his differences with the Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) could not book his berth in the premier continental event, said the federation’s policies had forced him to skip.
The Asian Individual Championship is being staged at the Sheikh Salem-Al-Sabah International Squash Complex in South Surra, Kuwait from May 1 to 5.
“I could retain the [Asian] title…but the federation thinks otherwise,” Aamir said while talking to Dawn on Wednesday.
He reckoned being the defending champion and the country’s top player, it was his right to be selected for the championship without trials.
But, he added, the PSF directed him to appear in trials and he declined. “I believe in [giving good] performance, not in trials,” he emphasised.
It is relevant to mention here that Aamir in 2013 became the first Pakistani player after 15 years to win the Asian Individual Championship held at Islamabad where he defeated Kuwait’s Abdullah Al Muzayen in the decider.
Last year, Aamir went down fighting to Omar Abdel Meguid of Egypt in the Chief of Air Staff (CAS) International Championship final held at Islamabad’s Mushaf Squash Complex.
Despite this highly encouraging show, the player regretted, some personalities in the PSF didn’t want to see him in action and always looked to create problems for him.
The PSF sent the names of Nasir Iqbal and Farhan Zaman for the said championship, as not only Aamir but also Farhan Mehboob — another senior player — due to his differences with the PSF didn’t turn up for the trials.
Responding to a query, Aamir said still he was ready to participate in the Asian Individual Championship, but with respect.
When asked whether the PSF could send him to Kuwait to defend the title at a time when they had finalised the team selection, he said: “Though, the PSF has sent entries of few players, that could be changed. I’m ready to defend the title and I can again bring the title for the country, if the PSF wants it,” he said.
It is worth mentioning here that on March 23 this year, Aamir, in recognition of his achievements, was decorated with Tamgha-e-Imtiaz — the country’s fourth-highest civil award — by the government.
Meanwhile, speaking to Dawn, a senior player requesting anonymity stressed the PSF should sort out its differences with all players.
“The difference between Aamir, Farhan and the PSF should have been resolved in the greater interest of the country but unfortunately, the federation PSF remains stuck to its stance and the players too didn’t show any flexibility in their demands,” he lamented.
Despite repeated attempts, PSF secretary Aamir Nawaz could not be approached for his comments.