Pakistan withdraws from Asian Squash Championship

Pakistan alleged that the visa process was unduly delayed by India till the last minute, forcing the PSF to withdraw its players from the Championship.

Indian players with coach Achraf El Karargui at the unveiling of the draw of Asian Squash Championship in Chennai on Monday.   -  Special Arrangement

With just a day to go for the Asian Squash Championship in Chennai, Pakistan players have pulled out of the tournament due to visa issues.

A media representative from the Pakistan Squash Federation said it received the passports without the visas at 4 p.m. on Monday. However, the Indian High Commission later offered to issue the visas on Tuesday. "Last minute invitation means no invitation. It is really unfortunate,” he told Sportstar.

“Regretted to inform you that Pakistan Squash Federation [PSF] has been forced to withdraw its squash contingent from participation in 19th Asian Senior Squash Championship, 2017 scheduled to be held in Chennai India between 26-30 April,” Geo TV quoted a statement from PSF.

“PSF has thoughtfully taken a stance (to) represent our nation & players with dignity and to withdraw its contingent from the Championship with a hope that world body would take strong notice of this incidence,” it said.

The organisers announced the draw on Monday with Hong Kong’s Max Lee and Annie Au placed as the top seeds in the men’s and women’s event, respectively. The five-day tournament gets underway on Wednesday with important matches happening at a temporary glass structure constructed at the Central Atrium of the Express Avenue shopping mall.

With a Pakistan player, Farhan Mehboob, seeded at No. 8 in the tournament, only a moderate change will have to be made to the draw. “Should a problem arise and the Pakistan authorities inform us that their players are unable to make it, then the draw would be suitably adjusted because only one of their players is among top eight seeds,” Poncha had said earlier in the day.

Four players from Pakistan - Farhan Mahboob, Farhan Zaman, Waqar Mahboob and Tayyab Aslam - featured in the original draw.