ISLAMABAD - Bahria Town International Women Squash Championship, suffered another blow as both Chinese girls were withdrawn their names at the eleventh hour and declined to come to play in the event, while the participation of No 1 seed Maria Toor Pakai is also in serious doubt.
The inside sources have confirmed to this scribe that Chinese girls, an Indian player and Pakistan's top female squash player Maria Toor are almost certain to miss the event. The sources said Maria had sent an email to Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF), in which she took the stance that it looked almost impossible that despite her utmost wish, she would not be able to reach Pakistan in time, while the Sri Lankan player would be available in the event. The remaining Indian player had demanded airlift from Wahga border, on which according to sources, the organisers had promised to provide.
It is quite unfortunate that despite providing best facilities, half air tickets, five-star accommodation and other incentives, international players had taken back their names without any solid reason. The WSA must take notice of this situation and it is also the prime duty of the PSF to lodge strong protest with the WSA and other bodies and make sure this exercise should not be repeated in future. Now only one-day remaining in the prestigious event and the withdrawal of foreign players is sending a very wrong and negative message to the people of Pakistan, who are diehard sports lovers and give tremendous respect to sporting icons. It is the legal and moral obligation of world squash governing bodies to discourage such moves from the players and prevent them from these dirty tricks.
Talking to this scribe, PSF secretary Group Captain Amir Nawaz said: “I am working round the clock to arrange visas for foreign players. I have contacted our mission in China and requested them to immediately issue visa to Chinese players, but to utter disappointment, the girls didn't bother to apply for the visa and take back their entries sighting personnel reasons. Same is the case with Ahineun Chan as I was told five days back to arrange visa for her. I am running from post to pillar to get her visa as soon as possible, as it is the prestige of our country and above all we have pinned high hopes from this event. It will open flood gates of international squash in the country and the empty courts will be once again filed with the loud cheers of squash lovers.”