Pakistan deny permission to squash team’s visit to India

January 12th, 2009 - 9:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, Jan 12 (IANS) Pakistan have refused to clear squash team’s tour to India for the Asian Junior Championship citing security concerns after its request to relocate the tournament was turned down by Asian Squash Federation (ASF).Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) had requested the ASF to either move the Jan 16-23 tournament out of India (Chennai) or change the dates (Jan 16-23) as their players cannot take part because of the prevailing tension between the two neighbours.

Sources told IANS Monday that the ASF rejected the PSF’s plea, saying it is too late to either shift the venue or find new dates for it. Pakistan is the defending champion in team and individual titles.

The Pakistani authorities have thus refused the team’s visit to India.

India and Pakistan have suspended bilateral sporting ties in the aftermath of last November’s terror attacks in Mumbai.

India refused to clear its cricket team’s visit of Pakistan last month while in what seemed like a retaliatory move, Pakistan blocked its hockey team’s tour to play a four-nation tournament in Chandigarh from Jan 30-Feb 8.

For Pakistan’s squash officials, the issue has posed major headaches as India is scheduled to host a number of important international squash tournaments in 2009.

Over the years, India has emerged as a major destination for international squash and will be hosting a number of regional and world squash events this year.

Pakistan’s players will be vying for the title in the 2009 World Junior Men’s Individual Championship. However, it remains to be seen whether they would be able to compete in the event which will be held in Chennai from July 28. Chennai will also play host to the World Junior Women’s World Championships from July 28.

Though Pakistani girls will not be counted among the favourites but players like Maria Toor Pakay — the country’s number one — will be competing if the visit is cleared by the government.

Chennai will also be the venue of the World Doubles Championships. The event was supposed to take place there from Dec 15-20 last year but was postponed because of the Mumbai terror attacks. It is expected that the World Squash Federation (WSF) will soon find new dates for the event which will take place in Chennai as planned.

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