Karachi: The campaign of national squash chiefs to bring international squash back to Pakistan with this summer’s Asian Squash Championships in Islamabad has received a major blow with the world’s number one player deciding to skip the event due to security concerns.
Malaysia’s World No.1 Nicol David is giving the Asian Individual Championships a miss to prepare for her title defence at the prestigious British Open in Hull from May 1826.
Nicol has won the Asian title a record eight times but decided to skip the tournament in Islamabad from May 14 due to safety concerns in Pakistan.
“I really do not want to miss the Asian meet. I thought they would move the venue to a different country,” Nicol said in an interview.
“But since there’s no news on that, I will step aside this time due to the safety concerns in Pakistan. I’ve never been there and I don’t know what to expect. Hopefully, our players will be safe during the championship and return victorious,” added Nicol, who will be 30 in August.
With Nicol out of the Asian meet, Malaysia’s challenge in the women’s will be led by world No. 6 Low Wee Wern. National No.3 Delia Arnold will also be taking part. Both will be gunning for their first ever Asian individual crown.
The Malaysians’ chances have also been boosted by the absence of India’s Dipika Pallikal and Joshna Chinappa.
Hong Kong will pose the main threat with the likes of world No.10 Annie Au and world No.19 Joey Chan in the fray.
In the men’s event, Ong Beng Hee and reigning Asian champion Mohammad Nafiizwan Adnan will be competing.
Other main foreign challengers will be Hong Kong’s Max Lee and Leo Au as well as the talented Abdullah Al Mezayen of Kuwait.