Abubakar/Zohaib win ATF Ranking Tennis doubles title

LAHORE-Pakistan’s rising tennis stars Abubakar Talha and Zohaib Afzal Malik won the boys’ doubles title in the Mid Court-Athletes Unraveled ATF Championships U-14 Leg-1 Championships that concluded at PTF Tennis Complex, Islamabad on Friday. 
Both the talented boys, who have now started representing Pakistan in international events, played tremendous tennis against the duo of Amir M Khan Mazari (Aitchison), who claimed two silver medals in this event, and Samer Zaman and outsmarted them by 6-1, 6-4. 
Abubakar and Zohaib (of SA Gardens) put their opponents under pressure right from the word go and took the first set 6-1. Their nerves were tested by Amir/Samer in the second set, where the score was level at 4-4 but then Abubakar/Zohaib, who recently lifted two titles (U-14 and U-12 doubles) in Aitchison National Junior Championship in Lahore, once again showed their class and earned two consecutive points to clinch the coveted ATF Ranking Tennis trophy. 
Talking to The Nation after winning the title, Zohaib said: “I am grateful to Allah Almighty and then my parents, coach Muhammad Khalid, trainer Muhammad Arshad, sponsors and my school LGS Phase V, for their all-out support that is helping me achieve my set goals before representing Pakistan in senior international circuit. Everything is going according to set plans and I am eager to further excel in my professional career.” Zohaib also grabbed bronze medal in boys’ singles. 
Abubakar Talha, student of FG Middle School Mazhar Lines Lahore Cantt, thanked his department Wapda and sponsors SA Gardens for their support in helping him gradually make his dreams come true. “I am very glad with my progress in the ATF event and also by winning two crown in this event. I am now keen to win more international laurels for my country.” Abubakar also won boys singles title on Thursday after beating Amir Mazari in the final.  
Federal Minister for IPC Ehsan ur Rehman Mazari graced the concluding ceremony as chief guest and welcomed by Acting PTF President Iftikhar Rashid, who briefed the chief guest about the achievements of PTF for the last eight years. He also thanked Ms Zaira for her efforts. He appreciated the standard of tennis which was witnessed during the final and congratulated the winners and top performers. 
The Minister also lauded the efforts of Mrs. Zaira Ahmad Zaka (Founder of Midcourt) for her valuable and continuous support for tennis, saying she has proved to be a role model for others. Later, he distributed prizes among the winners. The Mid Court-Athletes Unraveled ATF Championships U-14 Leg-2 will get underway on Monday (October 10) at PTF Complex, Islamabad. 
Meanwhile, Minister for IPC Ehsan Ur Rehman Mazari revealed that the summary for restoration of departmental sports in the country has been approved by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and their teams in various disciplines will start functioning from Monday. 

Azhar Khan

Azhar Khan is an accomplished senior sports journalist with extensive experience in the field. He can be reached at azharmasood786@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter at @azharmasood786

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