ISLAMABAD -  Pakistan No 1 female squash player Sadia Gul expressed her utter gratitude to Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) for believing in her abilities and awarding her wildcard for the upcoming PSA $25,000 event in Islamabad next month.

Talking to The Nation, Sadia, who is also world number 92, said: “The federation has showed confidence in me and I will not disappoint them. I will prove that I thoroughly deserve wildcard. My father has heavily invested in me as I went to USA thrice for the PSA events and all was done by my father, who also sent me to a number of other countries for the PSA events. I have won silver and bronze medal in India for Pakistan.

“I never demanded anything from the PSF, but I just request the federation to provide me conducive environment for playing squash. I want to practice from 3:45pm to 5:15pm, as without training, I can’t win big events. It is not about my personal glory, in fact, it is about Pakistan, as I have always dreamt of winning major PSA titles. I can assure the federation that I can do this job and I can carry forward nation’s hopes,” she added.

Sadia said she doesn’t want to go to Hashim Khan squash courts where she has to wait for long to practice. I am a female and I can’t stand outside courts to watch male players training for hours, as it looks very odd. I just want respect and I am paying around Rs 10,000 monthly for personal training with a male coach.

“I have taken giant strides and worked very hard to become Pakistan No 1 against all the odds as I also don’t have any squash background. I was so upset with the previous management of the federation that I had almost quit squash, but when the present management took over and senior vice president Air Marshal Shahid Akhtar Alvi and secretary announced the PSF president’s desire to promote female squash and give equal treatment to them by providing each and every facility including PSA events and training, I changed my mind and started giving more time to squash and now I have started producing better results at national and international level,” she added.

Sadia said that now the federation has started camp for females at Mushaf Squash Complex, which she feels highly positive step and will yield results for females. “We have exceptional talent in females. I simply don’t agree with certain people that the country is facing acute shortage of talent especially in females. We have Riffat, Sammar and Madina sisters, besides Maria Toor, so we can form highly formidable team, which will be capable enough to win titles, just like we did in 12th South Asian Games in India.

“What we lack is the best training under top coaches and international exposure. If provided with training under top coaches, we can upset any given player everywhere in the world. I know the competition will be very tough in the upcoming $25,000 event, as top elite group of players will be seen in action during the event, but it will prove very beneficial for local players. The holding of small cash-prize events like $5000 and $10,000 can help in getting best results, as it will provide local players chances of playing and learning alongside top professional players while the high prize-money events attract higher ranking players,” she said.

“I have almost recovered from the thigh injury which I sustained during POF Wah event. Now I am training again and ready to join camp at Islamabad. I am once again thankful to the Pakistan Squash Federation for keeping their promise to give importance to females. I can assure that I will not disappointing them and play out my heart to win medals for Pakistan,” Sadia concluded.