ISLAMABAD: Pakistan squash team left for India on Wednesday without its two coaches as they were denied accreditation cards by Indian authorities.
“Yes, Sattawat Babar, coach of the female team, and I were not given accreditation cards by Indian authorities,” said legendary squash player Fahim Gul, the coach of national men’s team.
He said efforts were being made by Pakistani authorities to get the accreditation cards from their Indian counterparts.
The squash team which left for India comprised four male and as many female players.
Nasir Iqbal, Farhan Zaman, Danish Atlas and Sheikh Saqib were part of the male team while Maria Toor, Muqadas Ashraf, Samar Anjam and Sadia Gul were representing the female team.
Pakistan won two gold medals and one silver in the last edition of the South Asian Games. The team is much hopeful of improving its record this time.
Squash, swimming, TT contingents off to India
“The Pakistan Olympic Association is pleading the case of our officials and I hope the issue will be resolved,” said Amir Nawaz, the secretary of the Pakistan Squash Federation.
“It will be a big blow for our team if the coaches are not given the accreditation cards,” the secretary added.
Fahim Gul further said, “I travel around the world and am facing such a situation for the first time. The accreditation card should have been issued to me on time,” he said and added that he had no idea whether the authorities delayed his accreditation card deliberately or by mistake.
To a query, he said coaches had an important role to play during the championship.
“I trained my players dedicatedly and I hope they will earn laurels for the country. Surely, there are bright chances for some medals,” he said and added that he will join the team if his accreditation card was issued to him.
Meanwhile, swimming and table tennis contingents also left for India to participate in the mega event.
A 20-member swimming squad, including three officials, departed for India. This time, Pakistan sent 11 male and six female swimmers for the event.
The table tennis squad comprised five male, five female and three officials.
As many as 301 Pakistani athletes are participating in 20 disciplines of the Games and some contingents such as archery, volleyball and handball have already left for India.