Salman Hashimi is hoping his Elite Squash March tournament title is just the start of more trophies to come in the UAE after moving permanently from Pakistan last year.
The 21-year-old enjoyed much success playing in his homeland as well as abroad, reaching a career high of No2 in the Pakistan junior rankings as well as 16th in the senior category.
A remarkable achievement especially considering he did it without the backing of a sponsor. Eager to test himself on a more competitive stage, he moved to Dubai 12 months ago.
Since then, the only way has been up. He is now a coach at Elite Squash, passing on his knowledge as well as playing in various competitions across the Emirates.
Friday’s 11-9, 11-6 victory over Tony Gumbrell at Emirates Golf Club was the third time he reigned supreme in the country and he hopes it’s a sign of things to come.
“This is my first tournament I have won since I’ve joined Elite Squash and it was an amazing exp-erience for me,” said Hashimi, a former runner-up in the Doha Junior Open.
“It was a great competition to be part of. It was difficult because there were some strong players and it meant I had to play some tough games but it was nice to come through. This victory will give me good confidence for the rest of the tournaments that I will play in,” added Hashimi, whose next competitive outing will be in Abu Dhabi in four weeks’ time.
Other winners in the tournament were Abdulbasit Khan and Seif Sameh. Khan claimed the Group B prize after defeating Kareem Bibi 2-0, while Sameh maintained a 100 per cent winning record, including a triumph over his brother Zein, to top the round-robin Group C.
In the ladies event, Andrea Wilkins held off Sandra Albinson in straight games to win 11-9, 11-9.
In the beginners’ level, Karima Al Kaisa was playing the sport for the first time and came away with the trophy after winning 11-8, 11-9. In the Under-11s, Kairav Banerjee took home the top prize after heading the group with 43 points while Serag El Din Ahmed settled for runner-up spot.
The competition, which attracted more than 40 participants across the adults’ and children’s categories, was the first of three in this season’s Elite Squash series. The remaining events are set to be held in June and October.
Elite Squash CEO Neil Young was pleased with the performances he saw in the series opener.
“It went really well and there were exceptional displays from all the participants,” he said. “It was a good way for the coaching clients to see their progress in competitions.”