Serena Hotels through its ‘Sports Diplomacy Initiative’ in collaboration with Pakistan Air Force and Pakistan Squash Federation have successfully revived the game of Squash in Pakistan. Serena Hotels recently organised two International Squash Series: Chief of Air Staff International Women Squash Championship and Pakistan Open Men’s Squash Championship with final prizes worth US$ 25,000 and US$ 50,000 respectively.
This year, besides Pakistan, 24 world ranking male and female squash players from Egypt, Hong Kong, Malaysia, England, Australia, USA, India, France, Spain, Wales, Portugal, Ireland, Switzerland, and Iran have participated in these championships sponsored by Serena Hotels.
Marwan El Shorbagy from Egypt won the final match of the Pakistan Open Men’s Squash Championship in an exciting contest with his Egyptian rival Mohamed Abouelghar while the title of Chief of Air Staff International Women Squash Championship was won by Annie Au from Hong Kong. Annie outclassed Sivasangari Subramaniam of Malaysia in a thrilling final match.
Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of the Air Staff who is also President Pakistan Squash Federation was the Chief Guest at the occasion. The Chief Guest awarded trophies to the winning and runners up players. Foreign diplomats, former World Champions Jahangir Khan, Qamar Zaman, along with a large number of squash lovers witnessed the match.
Sports Diplomacy Initiative is an integral part of Serena Hotels’ efforts to forge stronger relations with international community. Sports are an important medium for bringing people together and participation in sports helps in improve leadership, teamwork, and communication skills along with promoting a healthier lifestyle and presenting a positive image of the country internationally.
Mr. Aziz Boolani, CEO of Serena Hotels, said, “Pakistan has a tradition of excellence in many sports but in recent years it has been harder for our players to excel in competitive sports internationally. Up to 25 years ago Pakistani squash players were the best in the world and every person in the country knew their names, some of those great players are with us today.”
Mr. Aziz Boolani, CEO of Serena Hotels spearheads the Sports Diplomacy Initiative since 2012. Over the years this initiative has gained popularity among the civil society, diplomatic and corporate community. “Serena Hotels believes that our athletes can again win international fame provided they have the support of organizations through training, sponsorships and promotion. We are proud to partner with the Pakistan Air Force and the Pakistan Squash Federation to revive interest in the game of Squash,” he added.
President Pakistan Squash Federation Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman assured that Pakistan Air Force endeavors to work with the promotion of squash, will continue until we succeed in regaining the pre-eminence in the world of squash. With the turn of the century Pakistan lost traction in the sport, as supporters and sponsors dried up leaving generations without access to quality facilities for training and competing. We will continue this tradition of hosting foreign players in our country so that Pakistan regains its lost foothold in the horizon of sports on the global scale.