Hamza Khan, 17, wins the title after defeating Egypt’s Mohamed Zakaria 3-1 in an exhilarating match in Melbourne.
Islamabad, Pakistan – Pakistan is celebrating a win at World Junior Squash Championship after a protracted wait of 37 years.
Hamza Khan, 17, on Sunday gained the title after defeating Egypt’s Mohamed Zakaria 3-1 in an exhilarating match in Melbourne, Australia.
The final time a Pakistani gained the championship was in 1986 when the legendary Jansher Khan lifted the trophy.
🎙 “Pakistani Squash is back!”
— World Squash (@WorldSquash) July 23, 2023
Hamza belongs to Nawa Killi village in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which has produced among the legends of squash – a recreation Pakistan as soon as dominated on the worldwide stage.
Regardless of belonging to a household which produced world quantity 14 Shahid Zaman Khan and former British Open winner Qamar Zaman, Hamza’s path to victory was not simple.
His father Niazullah Khan advised Al Jazeera he has been funding his son’s ardour for the game since he began coaching practically a decade in the past. He mentioned he purchased gear and sometimes his journey tickets to the occasions.
“Whereas his ticket for Australia was purchased by the Pakistan Squash Federation, they didn’t ship any coach or coach with him to information him throughout this gruelling match. I purchased him new racquets and footwear from my very own pocket earlier than he flew out,” he mentioned.
Niazullah, himself a former national-level squash participant, mentioned he had to surrender on his dream of representing Pakistan as a consequence of his household’s monetary situation.
“I used to be keen about squash and I used to be a prime participant in my school in Peshawar. However my father mentioned I’ve to rethink my priorities for household, so I stop my dream,” mentioned Niazullah, who now works for the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority and is predicated in Cherat city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Niazullah mentioned his son was 9 when he first entered a squash courtroom.
“Earlier than that he would simply follow at residence towards partitions. However inside months, not solely did he handle to qualify for a home match, he additionally ended up beating a participant 10 months his senior,” he mentioned.
Congratulations for Hamza are pouring in.
In a tweet, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif mentioned there was a time when Pakistani squash icons, Jahangir Khan – thought of the best participant to have ever performed the sport – and Jansher Khan, “upheld their dominance of the game”.
“Hamza and different younger gamers like him have nice position fashions to observe and with steadfastness and self utility, they might fill of their footwear someday, inshaAllah. The long run beacons for Pakistan,” Sharif wrote.
I congratulate Hamza Khan on profitable the World Junior Squash Championship. His onerous work, dedication & sporting prowess has made Pakistan the recipient of the title after a protracted hole of 37 years. There was a time when our squash icons in Jahangir Khan & Jansher Khan upheld their… pic.twitter.com/kMR59kNoD0
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) July 23, 2023
Lately, Pakistan’s declining fortune in squash is commonly attributed to a scarcity of assist from the federal government.
Noorena Shams, one among Pakistan’s prime squash gamers, agreed. She mentioned the largest issues confronted by the nation’s rising gamers are weak administration and administration.
“We don’t have the best individual for the best job. No one right here is aware of the best way to generate cash or take care of the gamers and perceive what they require,” Shams advised Al Jazeera.
Shams recalled an incident from 2018 when she met Hamza whereas he was getting ready for the Junior US Open championship. She mentioned he was visibly injured.
“I may inform he wasn’t fully match, however no one within the board had seen that. And since gamers are beneath a lot strain to carry out, they push themselves by,” she mentioned.
Niazullah mentioned the sports activities authorities in Pakistan should give attention to the gamers’ long-term future and put money into their coaching and amenities.
“The squash federation despatched just one official with Hamza to Australia, and that particular person has no background in squash. However I’m simply glad that my son was in a position to put all the things behind and win. We hope to do extra for our nation, however we’d like assist,” he advised Al Jazeera.