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Pak players to miss World Junior Squash

other Updated: Jul 13, 2011 01:25 IST

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The Pakistani squad has been forced to withdraw from this week's WSF Men's World Junior Individual Squash Championship in Belgium, after the Belgian embassy in Islamabad refused to grant visas to the players.

The 18th World Squash Federation championship will take place at the Flemish Squash Centre in Herentals from July 13-17.

Danish Atlas Khan and Nasir Iqbal, both 17 year olds from Peshawar, were supposed to lead Pakistan's title campaign in the event as they were originally named as the two 3/4 seeds. Khan is the reigning Asian Junior champion, with three PSA World Tour titles to his credit, while Iqbal, a former Asian U15 champion, already boasts of two Tour titles.

"Whilst the realities of visa difficulties for players from some countries are a regular obstacle, it is very sad for the players concerned," WSF CEO Andrew Shelley said in a release. "They have spent years building up to the pinnacle of their junior career, and with Khan and Iqbal seeded in the top four, were poised to medal for themselves and Pakistan. We feel sorry for them," Shelley added.

The reigning world junior champion, Amr Khaled Khalifa of Egypt is likely to become only third man in history to win the title twice when he defends his crown in Belgium this week. The 18-year-old from Cairo is expected to face Marwan El Shorbagy, the 17-year-old second seed from Alexandria, in an all-Egyptian final.

Meanwhile, Mahesh Mangaonkar will spearhead the Indian challenge in the championship. Apart from Mangaonkar, other Indians in the fray are Kush Kumar, Ramit Tandon, Abhishek Pradhan and Vrishab Kotian.