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British Junior Open 2005
02-06 Jan, Sheffield


Tom Elgood reports from Sheffield...

Basit Ashfaq, 18, has made his first move to conquer senior Squash by beating Tarek Mohamed Momen, 16, in the U19 final of the 2005 Drysdale Cup.

The Pakistani, who turns 19 on January 14, took 62 minutes to beat the youngster before joining the history books with legends such as Peter Marshall, Ahmed Barada and Gregory Gaultier since the tournament began in 1985.

Ashfaq certainly represented Goliath in this battle, as the biggest and smallest players in the event took to the court.

Nevertheless, despite feeling “a little bit nervous” before the match, Momen looked as relaxed as he did when he dismissed Tom Richards in the semi final.

The players were never further than three points apart in a tight first game. With a 5-2 lead, Momen had the giant left standing after pushing him through the four corners. Robbie Temple, a fellow competitor in the crowd, said, “He’s playing such clever Squash.”

No sooner had the lead evaporated, that Momen was leading again 8-6. But Ashfaq’s determination, coupled with the fine vocal form of the Pakistan camp, won him the first game 10-8.

Goggle trouble, a theme of the tournament, visited Momen in an equally tight second game. “That’s quite enough”, said the referee but Momen was unfazed and won 9-5.

While the large Pakistani frame was gathering momentum in the third, Momen was resting on his racket like a walking stick between rallies.  Adding to his problems, the referee was prompted to give Momen a conduct stroke for cleaning his goggles without consent. Ashfaq continued to win the third game 9-2 in 14 minutes.

It then took Ashfaq a further six minutes to win the deciding game 9-1 and fulfil his dream of winning the Drysdale Cup.

“It feels unbelievable. This was my last BJO”, he said. His goals have changed now too.

“I want to be in the top three now. It used to be the top 20”, he said.

While a dejected Momen said, “I’m a bit sad”, his mother added, “He needed the first game to lift his spirits.” By witnessing the Squash Momen is playing at 16, there seems plenty of time for lifted spirits.



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