KARACHI: Pakistan’s Israr Ahmed beat Malaysia’s Ng Eain Yow 3-2 on Thursday to win the Asian Junior Squash Championship held Tehran, Iran.
Ahmed’s win brought Pakistan it’s fifth Asian Junior Championship title as the former kings of squash maintained their stranglehold in the under-19 individual event. Danish Atlas Khan (2011, 2012), Syed Ali Mujtaba Bokhari (2013) and Tayyab Aslam (2014) were the past winners of the event.
Ahmed, who turns 18 in November, was Pakistan’s only hope in the individual event after top junior player Asim Khan pulled out of the tournament with illness. But the young player from Lahore remained undaunted by the expectations, scripting a 7/11,11/7,13/11,8/11,11/6 time in 61 mins in a tense final.
Pakistan, once by far squash’s most successful nation, has had no British Open winner since 1997, nor a world top ten player since 1997. Currently there are no Pakistani players able to qualify for the British Open main draw.
While Ahmed’s win will come as a breath of fresh for the game in the country, former great will be hoping the young star is able to replicate is performance at the senior level as well.
Pakistan have struggled to find champions at the top level since the departure of greats Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan.