ISLAMABAD -  Mehran Javed, Abbas Zaib, Mansoor Zaman Junior, Haris Sohail, Zeeshan Zaib and Abdul Malik were shortlisted to represent Pakistan for the upcoming World Junior Individual and Asian Junior Individual Squash Championships after coming on top in the six-day trials conducted here at Mushaf Squash Complex.

The trial matches were conducted under watchful eyes of Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) senior vice president Air Vice Marshal Shahid Akhtar Alvi, squash legend Qamar Zaman, Director PNSA Air Commodore (R) Aftab Qureshi and honorary secretary Wing Commander Tahir Sultan.

Talking to The Nation, Tahir said: “A total of 10 players were invited from across the country on the basis of their rankings in junior circuit. These top 6 players will get intensive training from May 22 under the head coach while the camp will continue till July 15, a day before their departure to New Zealand where World Junior Individual Squash Championship will take place.

“Neither of these six are guaranteed a place to represent the country, as we will monitor their behaviour, discipline, how they get training and the best of the four will get selected to play in the prestigious event. The PSF senior president has the final authority to send all six, not necessary from these six, as it depends purely on the players, how they impressive the selectors,” he added.

Tahir said: “We will also send the coach and a manger with these juniors as it is very important for these youngsters to have someone right behind them to ensure they remain focus on the task ahead. We have provided them superb training and for the very first time in the history, we have been sending all these four players after age scrutiny tests. Pakistan National Squash Academy Director Air Commodore Aftab Qureshi took players at a top laboratory where they underwent tests.

“We don’t want to win medals by cheating or under any sort of pressure, rather we want to show the world that Pakistan is fully committed to show that we are honest and law-biding people. We are sure these boys will get clearance and nobody can dare to challenge our sincerity. We have taken first step to ensure genuine players participate in national and international events and we expect same from others too,” he added.

“After World Junior, the Asian Junior Championship will be held in Jordan from August 15 to 19 in Jordan. “We are quite hopeful about positive results, but we are not concerned and don’t expect over the moon performances. One thing is sure, we are working on a plan and results will speak themselves,” Tahir said.

Sharing his views, Air Commodore (R) Aftab Qureshi said: “I have taken initiative that we will never compromise on principles and I have emphasised to conduct age scrutiny tests of junior players to ensure no overage player may take part in any national and international event.

“I hardly start full-fledge work at the PNSA, which started bearing fruit. Our academy player Ahsan Ayaz has been producing wonders at the PSA events, as he just played in the $15,000 semifinals and now he is playing the quarterfinals of $10,000 event. Gradually, we are achieving goals and soon we will be able to reach the top,” he added.

Aftab said he had planned to visit far-flung areas of the country to hunt fresh talent. “I will bring hunted talent to the PNSA and polish their skills and provide them best facilities, which will surely help them excel at higher level.

“I must say a big thanks to PSF president Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, as without his efforts and personal interest, we can’t move an inch. We are blessed to have another squash lover in shape of Air Vice Marshal Shahid Alvi, who is always present at the courts and ready to help us out. With the active support of both president and SVP, we don’t need to think about finances and other things, as we are just focused on our set goals,” he added.