Sunday, July 14, 2024

Maqbool makes it 10 years at the top

Adil retains UAE title in Abu Dhabi to maintain his long unbeaten run

Adil Maqbool
Adil Maqbool, still unbeaten in UAE

The UAE’s No. 1 squash player Adil Maqbool celebrated going 10 years unbeaten in the emirates, with an 11-7, 14-12, 3-11, 11-5 victory over Aamir Khan in the second ISC-UNB UAE Open Squash Championship at the Indian Social Club in Abu Dhabi last week.

adilUAEchampThe 26-year-old Pakistani last lost to a UAE resident at the Abu Dhabi Open in 2004 and recently made it 50 months in the Professional Squash Association’s top 100 before dropping to his current World No. 105 ranking.

“It’s a big achievement,” said Abu Dhabi-born Maqbool. “Especially considering I don’t come from a squash playing family and had to start out from scratch, unlike other UAE-based players.

“I come from an academic family that had never been involved in professional sport, so initially people were quite sceptical, but now they have seen my success they are supportive.”

Maqbool is now hoping to compete in a $25,000 event in Pakistan this month — the first inside the country since the lifting of an international player ban, which was enforced after a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in 2009.

With the return of international players comes a greater opportunity to accrue more world ranking points closer to home, vital for a player like Maqbool, whose wish is return to his career best World No. 66 ranking, which he achieved in November 2008.

“Apart from Pakistan, I’m also hoping to play events in India, Qatar and Spain before the end of the year ahead of a Super Series event in Dubai in March. If I’m successful, I hope to get back into the World’s top 70.”

Picture by KIM ROBERTS

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