LAHORE - Two national ranking women squash players Rushna Mehboob and Saima Shoukat have called for establishing a women squash academy to halt the decline in women squash besides broaden the base of the game.
“Our squash revolves around 10 to 15 female players who have reached their prime and with no young talent in sight the future of the game hangs in balance. There is a dire need to setup an exclusive female squash academy to revive the game on long term basis,” said national No 2 Rushna from ZTBL and No 4 ranked Saima of Wapda here on Tuesday.
They were of the view that the present lot of the female squash players had passed their best and due to that alarming factor, the base of female squash had started shrinking and if efforts were not made to arrest the cause then the future of women squash in Pakistan would be in shambles.
Both the players, who represented the country in a number of international squash events home and abroad, said that the Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) should address this issue on priority basis by establishing a squash academy under the watchful eyes of professional coaches and physical trainers.
"Take the example of developed countries which are grooming their female squash talent by providing all necessary facilities under one roof and countries like India and Sri Lanka and even United Arab Emirates (UAE) are polishing their talent in squash academies and that is the reason that players from these countries are fast coming up in squash,” said the female squash players who are getting training from national and seasoned squash coach Fahim Gul for the past four years.
They said they aimed to serve the game for another two years to regain previous world ranking of 128th by lifting the level of their game with sheer hard work and commitment. “We don't have much time left but we are fully confident to once again make our mark in the international ranking and our coach Fahim is helping us by imparting the finer points of the game. He is the best choice to run female squash academy because of being former world No 6 and his standing in the game,” they maintained.
They said the time had come for the young generation to take over but sadly there were lesser young female players who were interested in the game and this objective could only be achieved by providing them incentives in terms of their education and monthly stipends.
They said special emphasis should be laid on promoting squash in the educational institutions and U-13 and U-15 female players should be picked to attend the squash academy under the supervision of Pakistan's former top ranked players of the game. “These coaches should be paid handsome package and there should be a proper system of check and balance to judge the individual performance of each coach working in the academy,” Rushna and Saima concluded.