By: Asif Khan
A n ultimate phenomenon on court and always determined to dethrone his opponent, Owais Rasheed, Pakistan’s young and dynamic Squash player has always best demonstrated great potential nationally and internationally.
His participation in French, German, Austrian, Japan, Korean, Singapore Junior Championship and PSA Challenger Cup and World’s Players Camp in Egypt brought him global acclaim while on national level he received Highest Sports Achiever Award in 2018 and 2019 and also qualified CNS 18K$International Open Squash 2018 with distinction.
Currently he is the top squash player at Chatham university Pittsburgh, playing nationally in US representing his university.
Social Diary had an interesting chit chat with this ball of energy to know more on his achievements and what he aims to attain in 2021:
SD: PSF efforts for upbringing of domestic talent- What has been done and what is required to be done?
Owais: PSF has always been very keen to improve squash in Pakistan and bring our lost glory back, they have always been organizing the talent hunt programs for upcoming juniors and PSA tournaments so players could improve their rankings.
SD: Events like PSL, IPL, BPL etc. are playing a significant role in making the game of cricket popular? Do you think similar events can make a difference if started for Squash?
Owais: Leagues like PSL have played a vital role in bringing international cricket back to Pakistan. Lately I have seen a lot of glamour in these leagues which I believe boosted the cricket fan base. I do believe such leagues can make a huge difference in promoting squash, and I am glad to share that its already been introduced in Pakistan as Baluchistan International Squash League which has been a huge success.
SD: How do you deal with extended rallies and issues like injuries robbing the gameand burgeoning rivalry among the players?
Owais: Everything is the part of the game and all we need to have patience and a virtuous approach to deal with these.
SD: Who were your idols in Squash when growing up and who do you look up to now?
Owais: I grew up hearing about both KHANs of squash and naturally they were my idols to get inspiration from and to improve my own game and mettle.
SD: How does it feel when the girls sitting inside the squash court scream your name?
Owais: Well, that’s what every sports man demands, the support and motivation you get is unbelievable. This in turn becomes a huge part of your life; after all, there’s so much that sports help you to achieve.
SD: Who is the international player in Squash that you admire the most?
Owais: Currently Mr. Fantastic Ali Farag, current world #1 and Harvard graduate.
SD: What do you think are the main reasons for the downfall of Pakistan’s glorious squash history?
Owais: I would just say that the lack of right guidance and players support was the main reason for the steep downfall.
SD: What is that signature style of your game that makes you different from the others?
Owais: My fitness and determination make me different from others. Apart from that, it’s the show I put in during my matches.
SD: What is the key factor in your success story as a player?
Owais: I would say my right mentorship, my will and my consistency- these three keep me moving forward.
SD: What advice came your way from Jahangir Khan- The legend.
Owais: To work hard and never give up. He has been a great mentor towards technical side of the squash too.
SD: How do you maintain your fitness?
Owais: That’s the tough part! It actually demands a lot, from fitness, gym, conditioning till squash, training, matches. I commit to spending 3-4 hours a day drenching in sweat. I have always heard encouraging comments on my fitness and match fighting abilities. That keeps me going.
SD: What is your major aim?
Owais: Traveling the world, representing Pakistan all over and lifting trophies for my beloved country.
SD: Cricket being the only major sport in Pakistan and symbol of international appeal, how do you see the scope of Squash in Pakistan?
Owais: Our legendary squash players dominated the world for more than a decade, it’s just a matter of time when our national players would be taking the legacy ahead once again and making it to the list of top players of the world.
SD: What would you say to those parents who keep telling their kids that “Squash has no future in Pakistan “?
Owais: Squash has helped me enter the top university on full scholarship, where I train, study and play internationally for my country, so I would just say that they need a better mentoring.
SD: What are the events you are looking forward to?
Owais: I am looking forward to playing the PSA matches in US this whole year while playing national as well.