HANGZHOU: Pakistan has sent four badminton players to China for the Asian Games which are being held in Hangzhou from September 23 to October 8.
In the women’s category, Mahoor Shahzad and Ghazala Siddique will represent Pakistan. Meanwhile, Irfan Saeed and Murad Ali have been selected in the men’s category.
“I started playing badminton as a hobby during school matches, and then I developed a passion for it during my time at university.” I am now the U-16 and U-19 champion. I have played in the South Asian Games where I won the bronze medal.
I have also competed in the Asian Games in 2018 and recently traveled to England to take part in the Commonwealth Games. I am extremely proud to be participating in the 2023 Asian Games in China,” Ghazala Siddique stated in an interview with Gwadar Pro.
“Every day, we have two training sessions, lasting 2.5 hours in the evening and 1.5-2 hours in the morning.”
“Even though we may be lacking in terms of training, camp facilities, halls, shuttles, and rackets, we still make thorough preparations and give our best performances,” said Ghazala.
Irfan Saeed started playing badminton when he was 10 years old. “My uncle used to play and he was a veteran champion in Dubai. He made me start badminton. Now I am currently the National Champion of Pakistan. Then I started at international level from U-19 level,” Irfan told Gwadar Pro.
Talking about the Asian Games in China, Irfan said he is thrilling to participate in. “I am playing Asian Games third times. I played it in 2014, then in Indonesia in 2018 and now in China in 2023.
I played with the Chinese player Chen Long in 2018, who was the Olympic champion in 2016. I am very excited to perform better in Hangzhou” said Irfan.
As a coach with Pakistani Badminton team, Zareena Waqar has won the National Champion and World Islamic Countries Champion.
“I did not participate in the Asian Games but I have played the World Championship in England and Switzerland while I have also been the champion of the World Islamic Countries in which I have three gold medals,” the senior coach said.
“The players we have are four of our best in Pakistan and I really hope that they will play their best game in China.
They have been training all year round, but ever since they found out that we have been selected for the Asian Games, they are training harder,” Waqar told Gwadar Pro. –INP