'Aisam, Aqeel in top form to claim gold at SAG'

The Pak Banker - - MARKETS/SPORTS -

Pak­istan non-play­ing cap­tain Rashid Malik held out hope of win­ning gold medal in the ten­nis event of the South Asian Games sched­uled to be held from Feb 5 to 16 in the two In­dian cities of Guwa­hati and Shil­long.

"Though it is yet to be clear which play­ers In­dia is go­ing to field in the event, our play­ers in Aisam-ul-Haq and Aqeel Khan are in top form to claim gold medals in the Games," said Rashid who is a for­mer sea­soned cam­paigner of the Davis Cup ties for Pak­istan both as a player and non-play­ing cap­tain. He said Aisam and Aqeel would play the dou­bles and they could win a gold medal on the hard courts, adding that in the mixed dou­bles Aisam pair­ing with Ushna So­hail and the duo of Aqeel and Sarah Mah­boob would also se­cure a gold medal.

He said In­dia play­ing on their own sur­face seemed to be tough ri­vals for all par­tic­i­pat­ing teams with Sri Lankans be­ing the se­cond big op­po­nents.

He said Aisam had also joined the camp a cou­ple of days be­fore it con­cluded on Tues­day as he was in Mel­bourne tak­ing part in the Aus­tralian Open. Aisam was quite fit and in great form af­ter play­ing the Aus­tralian Open, Rashid added. Pak­istan men's team com­prise Yasir Khan and Mo­ham­mad Abid be­sides Aisam and Aqeel with the women's team con­tain­ing Sarah Mah­boob, Sarah Man­soor, Ushna So­hail and Ai­man Qureshi. Rashid said both men and women play­ers had been train­ing to­gether at the Bagh-iJin­nah where Mo­ham­mad Khalid coached the women's team.

Talk­ing about the women's team par­tic­i­pat­ing in the up­com­ing Games, he said he was con­fi­dent that women were well-pre­pared for the re­gional event, adding that the SAF Games were also an op­por­tu­nity for the Pak­istan team to get bet­ter prepa­ra­tions be­fore meet­ing China in the Davis Cup tie (fi­nal round) to be held at the neu­tral venues of the Sri Lanka in March this year.

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