Letter to the editor…
A team of three Pakistani tennis players has left on an Indian tour. It is a useful tour for the young Pakistanis who will definitely be able to earn valuable ranking points.
They will get another chance when they play in satellite tournaments at home in August – in all probability, two are likely to be held in Lahore while one each will be played in Karachi and Islamabad. All this will lead to a likely strengthening of the Pakistan team for the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania tournament against New Zealand in September.
So far so good. But what pains me as a woman player from Pakistan is the total neglect of my fellow women. After all, I sweat as much as any man while playing tennis.
Should women players, like me, be left to fend for themselves. As a mass communication student of the Punjab University, I have been winning the university title. For what? Surely not just to display the trophies on a shelf? I want to improve. I want to excel. I want to know my limitations on the tennis court.
Given the recent India-Pakistan cricket series and the successful South Asian Federation Games in which a large Indian contingent participated, sporting ties between the two countries seem to be at their best.
Then there is talk of combined games of the two Punjabs. Under these circumstances, an opportunity to women players would go a long way to improve the standard of women’s sports in Pakistan.
I would like to mention the names of athletes like Gulnaz, Sumera, Naseem and Busrha. They all did well against their stronger rivals from India. Winning an SAF Games medal for Gulnaz must have been the greatest moment in her life. But how did it happen? Because they were able to compete.
Playing in each other’s country is a positive step. A player carries the pride and honour of his country across the border. But should this honour be reserved only for men? This is what disturbs me. May be, in future the All-India Tennis Association would also invite women players from Pakistan, even if it is at the university level. A Punjab University vs Delhi University women’s tennis competition would be a new beginning in this direction.