Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Pakistan legends roll back the years

Pakistan lobby for more PSA events
By LEE HORTON – Squash Mad Chief Reporter

Talk about Ramy Ashour and his amazing array of skills and a lot of old timers will tell you they’ve seen it all before.

Qamar Zaman was the man who lit up squash courts around the world 30 years ago with his flicks, chops and nicks. He had a rolling gait and a smile like Charlie Chaplin, so whenever he turned to the referee and said “Let Please” the audience never knew if he was being serious. Sometimes, nor did the referees!

Last week Zaman was back in England as part of the Pakistan squash lobby group who met the PSA management team to request the return of major ranking tournaments to their battle-scarred land.

Rolling back the years: Old friends Hiddy Jahan and Qamar Zaman meet up
Rolling back the years: Old friends Hiddy Jahan and Qamar Zaman meet up

Pakistan is currently off limits to most travellers because of security threats and, as a result, few international players are willing to take the risk.

The Pakistan squash community is also riddled with internal political strife and claims of corruption.

Zaman himself cancelled the national junior championships because of widespread cheating about players’ ages, and England Squash banned any Pakistani players from competing in this year’s British Junior Open because individuals repeatedly failed to complete their tournament schedule after being knocked out of the main draw.

Against this backdrop, there was a lighter side to the Pakistani visit as Zaman met up with his old friend and rival Hiddy Jahan for the first time in 25 years. Hiddy, of course, was years ahead of Peter Nicol in transferring international allegiance to England.

Married to an English wife and settled in Surrey, Hiddy became an England international and is still coaching in south London.

When you consider he was one of the hardest hitters of a squash ball in history, with that little wooden racket, just imagine how much power he could generate with today’s monster weapons.  

Pictures from Squash Mad archive

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