KARACHI: Pakistan’s Abbas Shoukat stunned Egypt’s Basem Makram 3-1 in the first qualifying round match of the Serena Hotels-Chief of Air Staff International Squash Championship at the Mushaf Squash Complex in Islamabad on Thursday.
Shoukat was made to work hard for his victory, battling for 53 minutes before sealing the win 11-9, 6-11, 11-9, 12-10.
Meanwhile, Farhan Mehboob thrashed his younger brother Waqas 3-0 in just 22 minutes as he triumphed 11-5, 11-4, 11-6.
Asim Khan and Ahsan Ayaz also notched up straight-game victories over Raees Khan and Abbas Maniar, who is of Pakistani origin but came from the US to participate in the competition.
Raees beat Maniar 11-6, 11-6, 11-6 while Kashif Asif also registered a 3-0 victory over Zahir Shah.
In other matches, Waqar, another member of the Mehboob clan, defeated Salman Zeb 11-7, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7 and Sheikh Saqib Yousuf won 3-0 against Haseeb Gul in 21 minutes.
The final qualifying round will take place on Friday and four players will progress into the main round.
Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) secretary Amir Nawaz said that veterans Farhan Zaman and Aamir Atlas Khan are not part of the competition as both are busy playing Professional Squash Association (PSA) events in the US.
“We’ve asked Farhan to continue playing in USA because he would get more PSA tournaments there and his ranking would certainly improve,” said Nawaz. “It’s not easy to travel for so long to play in one event and then go back and start playing again. So it’s better for him to focus on the US circuit and ensure that he gains maximum points on the tour.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 2nd, 2015.
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